Ivanka Trump did not sit in for the entirety of a G20 meeting in place of her father. She merely stepped up and took his seat when he left his room, a move officials say was also taken by others when various leaders left the meeting.
According to the New York Post, “A White House official says Ivanka Trump took her father’s seat briefly on Saturday when the president stepped out of the room. The official said Ivanka Trump had been sitting in the back of the room, and moved forward when the president of the World Bank began discussing topics affected by a new women’s entrepreneurship fund she spearheaded.”
Social Media and Mainstream Media reacted with the expected outrage, often without the context that Donald Trump had been in the seat for the official meeting and that Ivanka had merely stepped up once he’d left.
That being said, however, there are still questions and legitimate criticisms surrounding the First Daughter’s position in the White House and her father’s administration. Ivanka has just as much political experience as her father, but, unlike her father, she was not elected to any office by any group of voters.
Ms. Trump moved from First Daughter quickly to unofficial advisor and then official advisor, taking an office in the White House in March. Initially, she took her position “advising the president” in a personal capacity, and “voluntarily complying with ethics rules”; then, after public criticism, she became an “unpaid” employee at the white house officially subject to those rules and standards.
When she took her father’s seat at the G20 meeting, she was one seat away from Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor who has thrown a bit of shade at her father over his decisions in regards to the Paris Climate Agreement, and more. She was also one seat away from Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has faced bipartisan rire in Washington for his alleged role in the Russian hacking of the 2016 election which helped elected Donald Trump.
Mr. Trump also sat down with Putin this week in a much anticipated one-on-one meeting, potentially their first in person meeting, though, as the AP put it: “Have Trump and Putin met before? It depends when you asked.” According to the AP, both men currently deny having ever met in person, but previously Trump has said otherwise. In 2013 he claimed to have a relationship with Putin in one interview and in another he said: “I’ve done a lot of business with the Russians…[Putin’s] a tough guy. I met him once.”
Asked about Ms. Trump taking her father’s seat at the table, Chancellor Merkel responded: “The delegations themselves decide, should the president not be present for a meeting, who will take the hair, and Ivanka Trump was part of the American dlegation.”
Mr. Trump called his daughter a “forceful advocate” for her causes, including female entrepreneurship—she has actively tried to curate a brand that shows her as a working mothe—“She’s a champion.”
Her main focuses since moving to work in the White House have been paid family leave—an historically un-conservative issue—workforce training and economic empowerment for women. She has famously influenced her father by “pleading” with him to apologize after the infamous Access Hollywood audio revealed him bragging about sexual assault in crude, boastful language. She also reportedly influenced his decision to launch missiles at a Syrian air base after that government used chemical warfare on its citizens. She has also been a staunch advocate for remaining in the Paris Climate Agreement, which her father’s decision to leave had some calling this years “G20” summit the “G19” instead.
Women’s entrepreneurship was reportedly the issue being discussed which inspired Ms. Trump to move forward and take her father’s seat at the leadership meeting.