The first daughter, Ivanka Trump, scheduled an unannounced meeting last week at the White House with Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to explore ways to address some of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, including looming famines from Somalia to Yemen and aid blockades in Syria.
The collaboration by two of the administration’s most influential women signaled an intent to raise the profile of American support for humanitarian relief around the world at a time when President Donald Trump’s budget advisors have been calling for steep financial cuts in foreign aid.
In an effort to dramatize humanitarian needs abroad, Haley is planning to take a trip to Jordan and Turkey in the near future to highlight the plight of millions of suffering Syrian civilians, including nearly half a million people forced to endure sieges by government and rebel forces.
Aid advocates said while they welcome Haley and Trump’s interest in humanitarian issues, they see the administration moving in a different direction. The State Department, meanwhile, has yet to fill its most senior humanitarian positions, including the director of USAID, and the top posts that deal with refugees, humanitarian affairs, and conflict resolution.