Ivanka Trump campaigns through Philly suburbs, avoids groping accusations

Ivanka Trump zigzagged around this election’s crucially-important suburbs of Philadelphia on Thursday to deliver a message to groups of local Republicans: her father has always been her biggest advocate. 

“What I can uniquely talk to you about is my father as a personal mentor and a role model to me as a great dad growing up,” she said.

Donald Trump’s eldest daughter avoided talking about the recent sexual assault allegations that have been leveled against her dad. Nor did she offer any reaction to a 2005 video that emerged last week in which the presidential nominee boasted about groping and kissing women without their permission.

Billed as “coffee with Ivanka,” the stops in Chester, Delaware and Bucks counties featured audience questions like “what is the secret to your success?” (lots of trial and error, she said). And what she remembers most fondly about her time at the University of Pennsylvania?  (she loved the city’s restaurants). At each stop, the questions elicited nearly identical responses from the 34-year-old daughter of the Republican candidate.

“Nothing in your life prepares you for your parent running for President of the United States,” she told groups of mostly Trump volunteers. “It’s incredibly mind-expanding.”

At one of the events at Drexill Hill, she fielded a handful of softball audience questions before slipping out the backdoor without interacting with a row of reporters assembled in the back of the banquet hall.

The one issue she did discuss was closing the gap in earnings between men and women. She said the topic is important to both her and her father.

“One of the reasons my father is so passionate about this is that he’s an employer of thousands of women,” Ivanka Trump said.

The absence of comments about the sexual assault allegations that have surfaced against Donald Trump in recent days did not bother many of the attendees. 

“I don’t think it belongs here. We don’t even know if it’s true. I doubt that it is,” said attendee Jan Gaudin, 78, of Media. “There’s so many other important things we need to be worried about in this country: the Constitution, the security of this nation and the problems with law an order.”

Backing the sentiment up was 64-year-old Toni Grosso, who lives in Swarthmore.

“I don’t think it should be factored in my mind at all. I mean, who could be worse than Hillary Clinton? Having a husband doing what he did and be impeached and still back him up,” Grosso said. “The focus is on the economy of this country. There’s protection of our borders. Education. There’s so many other facets of what’s going on in life beyond a 30-year-old accusation.”

But Myron Goldman, 74, who leads the Cheltenham Township Republican Organization, said he did want to ask Ivana Trump about the 2005 footage of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. He planned to ask how that portrait of the real estate mogul squared with the father she knew.

That aside, Goldman said he’s skeptical about the women who have stepped forward accusing Trump of unwelcome advances. 

“How do we know what the truth of this even is? Donald Trump is right way accused by two women and he’s guilty. A Democrat gets accused, and it’s, ‘well, we’re not sure. Maybe it didn’t happen, blah blah blah,'” Goldman said.

A new Bloomberg Politics poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Trump by 9 points in Pennsylvania, but she commands a 28 point advantage over Trump in Philadelphia’s suburbs, with 80 percent of suburbanites saying they were bothered by the video of Trump boasting about groping women.

Ivanka Trump is set to headline a private Republican fundraiser Thursday night at a hotel in King of Prussia.

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