Ivanka Trump's visit, from beauty to the beast

Ivanka Trump, the candidate’s daughter, was all smiles in Drexel Hill as she greeted her host, Erin Elmore, a past contestant on her father’s reality show, “The Apprentice.” Trump made three campaign stops in the Philadelphia area before a fund-raiser Thursday night. She didn’t address allegations against her father, but those who attended didn’t seem to mind.

IVANKA TRUMP went to the Philadelphia suburbs Thursday to slay. And she almost did.

I say almost because she never addressed the hot topic of the day: allegations from women claiming Trump had made unwanted sexual advances toward them.

The "coffee" in Drexel Hill that I attended Thursday afternoon at the Drexelbrook Catering & Special Event Center would have been a friendly space for her to have spoken up. The people in the mostly female crowd couldn't say enough nice things about the daughter of Donald J. Trump, who showed up in a $126 jacquard print dress from her eponymous clothing line.

"I honestly recognize every day how fortunate I am," said Ivanka, 34, who serves as executive vice president of acquisitions and development for the Trump Organization.

The Wharton School of Business grad deftly handled the softball questions tossed her way from Trump booster Erin Elmore, who appeared on NBC's The Apprentice, plus a handful of audience members, then made a hasty exit.

Ivanka slipped away before reporters could ask about the latest allegations of unwanted sexual advances written about in Thursday's New York Times - one from a woman who had sat next to him on a plane 30 years ago and another from a Trump Tower receptionist. No one brought up the Access Hollywood "grab them by the pussy" tape. But for the Republican crowd, she did enough. She repped for her dad, who they still planned to support.

"I liked her and what she had to say, and we're still behind Trump," Emily Wood, a Delaware County resident, told me as she made her way toward an exit. "I think we should not bring up anything from the past and just stick with the politics because everyone has something in their past."

Charlotte Savage agreed, saying of Ivanka, "She's lovely."

When I asked about the latest Trump accusations, Savage pointed out, "Nobody died. Nobody was murdered. It was years ago. Let's move on. It's getting really bad."

She's right about that.

On the drive back to Center City, I tuned in to CNN, which was playing audio of Trump slamming a People magazine reporter who claimed he sexually groped her years ago at Mar-A-Lago when she was there researching a story about his and Melania's first anniversary.

The man has learned nothing. He actually insulted Natasha Stoynoff's looks.

"Take a look, you take a look, look at her, look at her words - you tell me what you think. I don't think so," Trump roared at a campaign rally.

I'd gone from beauty to the beast. And the beast's ire this time was directed not only at Stoynoff, but also at the "failing" New York Times. Once again, he's threatening to sue the paper.

The damage, though, has been done. It will be a long, long time before America will forget, "grab them by the pussy" or the other so-called "locker room" words we heard coming from his own mouth on that infamous Access Hollywood video. Boasting about touching a woman on her crotch or elsewhere without permission is bragging about sexual assault.

Ivanka is a powerful surrogate for her father. She's an accomplished woman who comes off as if she's got it all together.

I really would have loved to have heard what she has to say about shock jock Howard Stern's referring to her over the airwaves as a "piece of ass" as her father listened, not to mention what she thinks about all the ugly sexual-assualt claims lodged against the "amazing" father she spoke so glowingly about.

But, as I pointed out earlier, this wasn't that kind of party.

@JeniceArmstrong

Blog: ph.ly/HeyJen

armstrj@phillynews.com