Donald Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, took his seat at a Group of 20 meeting table in Hamburg, sitting in for the president when he stepped away for one-on-one meetings with world leaders.
A photo on Twitter shows Ivanka Trump sitting at her father’s place, between Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Theresa May. One official who was watching the session said she has taken her father’s place at the table on at least two occasions today and did not speak.
A spokesman for Ivanka Trump said she had been sitting in the back of the room and then briefly joined the main table when the president stepped out. The president of the World Bank addressed the meeting, which was about African migration and health — areas that would benefit from a facility that Ivanka Trump and the World Bank had announced shortly before the meeting, the spokesman said.
G-20 leaders are allowed to bring staff into the room for some of the meetings, and when other leaders stepped out during today’s session, their seats were briefly filled by others. Ivanka Trump serves as an unpaid adviser to her father, as an assistant to the president.
But her presence at the table is the sort of blurring of lines — between family and official business — that Donald Trump is often criticized for, and it would be unusual for world leaders to have family members take their place at their table. Later in the meeting, Trump’s wife, Melania, joined the U.S. delegation in the room while the president was in the chair.
Seated at other seats nearby Ivanka Trump were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkey’s Recip Tayyip Erdogan.
At a news conference later, Merkel – the host leader of the G-20 in Hamburg – said it’s up to the individual nations who represents them. “The delegations themselves decide, should the president not be present for a meeting, who will then take over and sit in the chair,” Merkel said. “Ivanka Trump was part and parcel of the American delegation so that is something that other delegations also do. It’s very well known that she works at the White House and is also engaged in certain initiatives.”
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) 8 июля 2017 г.
The photo was tweeted by the Russian sherpa to the G-20, Svetlana Lukash, who wrote that Ivanka Trump “replaces Pres Trump at the #G20 table as he leaves for bilateral meetings.”
Earlier in the day, Ivanka Trump took part in a World Bank event on a fund for women entrepreneurs that she is actively involved in. The president praised her work on the fund at the event.
“I’m very proud of my daughter Ivanka, always have been from day one. I have to tell you that, from day one,” Donald Trump said. “If she weren’t my daughter it’d be so much easier for her. It might be the only bad thing she has going if you want to know the truth.”