CLEVELAND – Ivanka Trump took the stage at the Republican National Convention Thursday night, to introduce her father, Donald Trump, on the biggest night of his political life.
“For more than a year, Donald Trump has been the people’s champion and tonight, he’s the people’s nominee,” she said. “This is the moment and Donald Trump is the person to make America great again.”
Her remarks came just minutes before her father is set to deliver his acceptance speech for the Republican presidential nomination.
The 34-year-old’s turn on the stage was during the most high-profile speaking slot of the Trump family this week.
She has admitted the weight of the moment is “intimidating” and “terrifying.”
“He’s totally left it up to me,” Ivanka said in an interview with ABC’s Good Morning America this week on her father’s involvement with her speech. “I wish he’d give me input. But you know, I think he wants it to come from my heart. He says don’t worry, you’ll do a great job. So I’m trying to take that advice.”
Her speech caps a week of speeches from the Trump family — Melania Trump on Monday, Tiffany and Donald Trump, Jr. on Tuesday and Eric Trump on Wednesday.
Eric Trump said Ivanka’s speech brings a different perspective than from the sons of the family, as she is able to highlight more of the doting father-daughter relationship.
“She does the princess thing very well and she’s immensely close with my father,” he told CNN’s Sara Murray Thursday in Cleveland.
It’s a prominent role that the mother of three has been playing since Day 1 of the Trump campaign.
Ivanka was the family member to introduce the billionaire businessman as he launched his presidential bid from Trump Tower in Manhattan.
“I remember him telling me when I was a little girl, ‘Ivanka, if you’re going to be thinking anyway, you might as well be thinking big,” Ivanka said at that announcement last June.
She has campaigned alongside her father and stepped out on her own on the campaign trail, bringing testimonials and personal anecdotes.
“My father is a very straight talker,” she told a crowd in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “He is not politically correct. He says what he means and means what he says.
She quickly became a go-to key surrogate for the campaign, widely seen as poised and polished — with the unique ability to smooth out some of her father’s rough edged, vouching for him in personal ways.
“I can tell you firsthand that there is no better person to have in your corner when you are facing tough decisions or tough opponents,” she said at a campaign event in Bethpage, New York, in April.
At times, she’s been called on try to defend her father and diffuse controversies, in some of the toughest moments of the Trump campaign.
“He is not gender specific in his criticism of people and people that he doesn’t particularly like or people he likes that he thinks are wrong on a particular issue,” Ivanka told CNN’s Poppy Harlow when faced question over his past treatment of women. “I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t be a high level exec in his organization if he felt that way.”
Behind the scenes her impact is possibly more significant — serving as one of Trump’s key de facto advisers — telling her father to tone down the rhetoric and be more presidential, and along with the other Trump kids, played a role in her father’s choice of a running mate, including meeting with the contenders themselves behind closed doors.
“We have such a good relationship is because he respects me, and because I’m candid in my opinions, and I share them, solicited or otherwise,” Ivanka told CNN’s Gloria Borger this week in Cleveland.
Within the Trump family, she is seen as the favorite. And Donald Trump has never left any doubt over how he feels about her, regularly lavishing praise on her at campaign events — calling her “our great Ivanka” and “famous Ivanka” from the podium.
A view shared by some outside the family, considered such a strong asset that her name even came up during the vice presidential search.
“His best running mate, by the way, would be Ivanka,” Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker quipped as he took his own name out of contention for Trump’s vice president. ” I know that would not pass muster but she she’s most impressive.”
Ivanka seems aware of this moment for her and her father’s campaign downplaying expectations ahead of time.
“Don’t trip,” she joked that she will be thinking as she takes the stage Thursday in an interview on NBC’s Today Show. “After that, when I get to the podium, I think I’m really comfortable with my speech because it comes from my heart and hopefully I’m able to deliver it in an articulate way.”
She added: “So even if I bomb, my father won’t hold it against me.”