Steven Mnuchin intervened to block Ivanka Trump from helming the World Bank, according to The Intercept.
A source told the news outlet that the pick “came incredibly close to happening.”
Former President Donald Trump was a staunch advocate of his daughter’s ascension to the top role.
Former President Donald Trump sought to name his daughter, Ivanka Trump, to lead the World Bank in 2019, but then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin intervened to block the appointment, according to The Intercept.
In January 2019, the physician and anthropologist Jim Yong Kim, who had led the World Bank since 2012, announced he would be stepping down from his role the following month, creating a frenzy to fill the coveted position.
Kim’s surprise departure presented then-President Donald Trump with the ability to reshape the leadership of the World Bank, as the international financial organization has traditionally been led by an American citizen.
As the White House assembled a list of possible successors, Ivanka Trump emerged as a favorite to the then-president, who told The Atlantic that she would have been an excellent choice because “she’s very good with numbers.”
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But in April 2019, Ivanka Trump told The Associated Press she passed on the opportunity to lead the World Bank, noting that she was “happy with the work” she was doing as a senior advisor to the president.
While Ivanka Trump didn’t assume the role, she did help Mnuchin and then-White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney in selecting Kim’s eventual successor, David Malpass, who at the time of his appointment was the Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.
However, according to two sources who spoke to The Intercept, the discussion surrounding Ivanka Trump’s possible ascent to the top of the World Bank was not simply from the Washington, DC rumor mill.
Then-President Trump wanted his daughter in the role, and Mnuchin had to step in to prevent the selection.
“It came incredibly close to happening,” a source told The Intercept.
When contacted by The Intercept, representatives for Mnuchin and Ivanka Trump did not respond for comment. Queries from the news outlet to the World Bank and the Trump Organization also yielded no response.
The World Bank, which was created in 1944, seeks to promote economic development and poverty reduction by “providing technical and financial support to help countries reform certain sectors or implement specific projects” in areas including education and healthcare.
Before her time in the White House, Ivanka Trump was an executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization. She also had her own fashion line, which included clothes, shoes, and accessories, among other items.
After her father assumed the presidency, Ivanka Trump helped start the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, which was supported by the World Bank and was created to generate funding for female entrepreneurs in developing countries.
In January 2019, then-White House spokesperson Jessica Ditto pointed to Ivanka Trump’s work with the initiative to justify the then-first daughter’s possible elevation to the World Bank.
“She’s worked closely with the World Bank’s leadership for the past two years,” Ditto said at the time.
However, she still lacked the depth of financial experience that previous leaders brought to the role.
“That’s a very thin base to try to establish credibility in this multilateral institution,” said Scott Morris, director of the US development policy program at the Center for Global Development, to The Intercept. “It’s hard to imagine that she would have been viewed as a credible leader. It would be the worst kind of exercise of US power.”
He added: “I have to think as a candidate she would have encountered some resistance. But maybe [the bank’s members] would not have wanted to provoke the US president.”
Morris told The Intercept that the near-appointment could raise concerns about the continued US role in unilaterally appointing the World Bank’s leadership.
“A growing number of countries don’t like this whole arrangement,” he said. “For them to hear how close it was to being the US president’s daughter probably adds fuel to the fire that the Americans are so cavalier about this.”
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