Steven Mnuchin Stepped In to Prevent Ivanka Trump World Bank Appointment

Ivanka Trump assisted Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as well as White House Chief Of Staff Mick Mulvaney during the selection process. Ivanka Trump released a statement when the Treasury Department announced that David Malpass, Under Secretary of Treasury for International Affairs, was the new World Bank president. This was due to Malpass's past criticisms of World Bank.
One name remained in the Trump family's thoughts as the White House tried to pick its next leader. It was his daughter, Ivanka Trump. Ivanka later told reporters that although her father raised the topic, she decided not to pursue the role as she was satisfied with the work that she was doing as his senior advisor.

Jim Yong Kim threw the financial development sector in a mess in January 2019. The former academic, and health official, announced that he would be stepping down as president of World Bank. Instead, he will take a cushier job at a Wall Street-based private equity firm. Kim's unexpected departure was viewed as a setback for an institution already facing increased competition from China and private money. It also gave President Donald Trump the opportunity to select a new leader, creating concerns that Trump would choose someone who is not well suited to the role.

Representatives of Mnuchin, Ivanka Trump and the World Bank did not respond to inquiries for comment.

Two sources tell The Intercept that talk of Ivanka at helm was not just Beltway talk. Trump wanted Ivanka to be the president of the World Bank, but it was Mnuchin who stopped her from ascending to the top.

The U.S. has held the right to name the president of any bank since the creation of the World Banks in 1944. This informal agreement was made with European leaders. They are then given the task of naming the head the International Monetary Fund. This arrangement demonstrates the imperial Western nature of international financial institutions.

Ivanka was an executive vice president for development and acquisitions at Trump Organization for 12 years before she became White House adviser. According to financial disclosures for 2019, Ivanka also launched her own line fashion products that reportedly earned between $100,000 and $1,000,000 rent or royalties.

Ivanka, once living at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, helped to launch the Women Entrepreneurs Financing Initiative, also known as the Ivanka Fund, a World Bank-supported initiative to raise funds for women entrepreneurs in developing countries. Jessica Ditto, White House spokesperson, cited Ivanka's work with the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative as a reason for choosing the next World Bank leader. Ditto stated that she has worked closely with the World Banks leadership over the past two year.

However, she was still very inexperienced from that initiative. Scott Morris, the director of the U.S. policy program at Center for Global Development in D.C., stated that this is a small base from which to build credibility in the multilateral institution. It's difficult to imagine her being viewed as credible leadership. This would be the most undemocratic exercise of U.S. authority. As a candidate, I think she would have faced some resistance. But perhaps [the bank members] wouldn't have wanted to provoke President Obama.

Ivanka was embroiled in controversy from the moment her father was elected president. She falsely claimed that she was not involved in the 2017 inauguration. A lawsuit alleges that the Inaugural Commission overpaid for event space at Trump International Hotel in D.C. Jared Kushner, her fellow presidential advisor, also earned hundreds of millions outside income. Her Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative was a failure.

Mnuchin was often a bridge between Trump and his counterproductive moves. Mnuchin's time as a Hollywood producer made him an important representative of the set, whose approval Trump sought. This gave him the influence others in the government lacked. He convinced Trump to name Jerome Powell head of the Federal Reserve, and routinely talked him out from random shutdowns of government. He was also a notable success in getting Trump to sign the CARES Act. Trump's worst crimes were often evaded by him. He made sure he was there on January 6.

The Ivanka saga may be a warning to the status quo, given the growing discontent among World Banks member countries over the unilateral U.S. ability to nominate institutions leaders. Morris said that this arrangement is not being liked by a growing number of countries. It is likely that they are more concerned about the fact that it was so close to being the daughter of the U.S. presidents.