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Ivanka Trump Hits the Trail, Ignores Groping Allegations

Ivanka spent the day campaigning in Pennsylvania for her father, avoiding any discussion of the sexual assault controversy.
Image: Ivanka Trump, daughter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, speaks at a campaign event in Aston
Ivanka Trump, daughter of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, speaks at a campaign event in Aston, Pennsylvania on Sept. 13, 2016.MIKE SEGAR / Reuters

PENNSYLVANIA — The day after a flurry of new allegations from women who claim Donald Trump made unwanted sexual advances on them, his daughter, Ivanka spent the day campaigning in Pennsylvania, avoiding any discussion of the controversy that has engulfed the presidential campaign.

In the course of a three-stop tour Thursday, the only acknowledgement of the realities facing both candidates on the campaign trail is when she called the election "bizarre and vicious."

"This is a bloodsport," Ivanka said to more than 300 supporters in Ivyland, an exurb of Philadelphia.

Instead she focused much of her day on the trail attempting to endear her father to women, a key demographic Trump is struggling with and who Ivanka is targeting when she campaigns on his behalf.

Skipping over any damaging revelations about her father, she spoke glowingly about him, saying the child care plan she took the lead in crafting is so important to him.

“One of the reasons my father is so passionate about this is because he’s an employer of thousands of women,” Ivanka said of Trump’s childcare plan to a ballroom of about 250 people in Delaware County. “So he very much understand the composition, the needs of the modern workforce.”

Ivanka insisted that Trump is the person who instilled her values and that he understands the importance of women’s contributions.

“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,” Ivanka said. “And having three young children myself, I recognize now it’s really hard to be a good parent, and it’s very hard to raise close-knit family.”

Several women Wednesday claimed in different media outlets that Trump had made unwanted sexual advances on them or groped them, throwing another curveball into an election that has been waged far outside the normal realm of politics. NBC News has not independently confirmed the allegations.

Related: Trump Denies Sexual Assault Allegations; Says He'll Prove Claims Are False

Ivanka, who has begun campaigning for her father independently recently, answered questions from voters in the all-important collar counties surrounding Philadelphia. Like her last campaign trip to Ohio last week, Ivanka’s campaign fits into her personal brand of advocating for women, especially mothers. She has created a hashtag #womenwhowork, and doles out career, fashion and self-care advice for busy women.

But her privelege was apparent. While she acknowledged it and said she was grateful for it, her status in life seeped through.

"I've seen some of the most successful people across all industries, they don't necessarily have the best pedigrees, they may not be the most intelligent but they're the ones that are just working harder than anyone else because they love what they do and do it for the work themselves," Ivanka said.

About 80 percent of the attendees at her three events were women who lobbed softball questions about her success and her favorite things about Pennsylvania.

Like Ivanka, the audiences didn’t want to talk about the latest allegations. Several women called them a distraction to the important issues and blamed the media for ignoring Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s email scandal and the latest wikileaks release.

“I am very annoyed with the news media,” said Ann McGinty, a retiree from Chester. “It bothers me a lot the way the press is behaving. They are extremely partisan this time.”

And Lisa Mancuso called sexual assault allegations a “distraction.”

“If they were really going to be talking about these long ago we should be talking about Bill Clinton,” she said referring to allegations of Hillary Clinton’s husband’s sexual assault.

Ivanka is visiting each of the counties that surround Philadelphia, including ending the day at a fundraiser for the Montgomery County Republican Party. This area of the state is considered critical where the political populous is about evenly split.

Republican officials and strategists in the state admit that Trump doesn’t need to win these counties but he needs to keep it close to offset the heavily Democratic and voter-dense Philadelphia if he has any chance of winning the state.

The latest poll in Pennsylvania – a Bloomberg poll - showed Trump down 11 points here – a standing that Andy Reilly, the Delaware County Republican Party chairman, said mirrors polling in his county – and too wide of a gap for him to win.

“Trump needs to keep this county close if he’s going to win Pennsylvania,” Reilly said.

Related: Michele Obama Takes on Trump -- "Enough is Enough"

Valentino DiGiorgio, the chairman of the Chester County Republican Party, echoed the same message,that Trump needs to stay on track if he wants to have any shot.

“Stay on message, be presidential, stay on message,” DiGiorgio said.

Ivanka, perpetually on point, stayed on message. So much so that some of the same questions were repeated in each of the events, including what it was like to work with her dad and brothers, what she likes about Pennsylvania and why she thinks her dad would be a good president.

Nancy Ricca, asked Ivanka what was the secret was to her success, a similar question the previous event 20 miles away. But Ricca said that was what she was interested in knowing about her.

“You could ask anything that you really want to and of course I support women,” Ricca said.

Reilly said it was great to have Ivanka in town because, “It brings us back on message.”

“He’s not the most disciplined candidates we’ve seen,” he said of Trump.