Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Fix

'Unelected, unqualified’: The Internet's reaction to Ivanka Trump taking her dad's seat at G-20

By Kristine Phillips

July 8, 2017 at 2:21 PM

Watch more!
President Trump's daughter participated in high-level meetings throughout the summit including a World Bank panel on women's entrepreneurship with several high-ranking international officials. (Meg Kelly/The Washington Post)

Ivanka Trump briefly sat among world leaders after she took her father's seat at the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg.

But critics did not like the idea of the first daughter filling in for the president, pointing out that she was neither elected nor qualified to represent the United States at a high-level event.

Trump was spotted sitting in her father's seat Saturday at a working session on "Partnership with Africa, Migration and Health." A picture shared on Twitter by a Russian attendee but since deleted shows her seated between British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping. German Chancellor Angela Merkel sat one seat away.

Related: [Ivanka Trump takes her father’s seat at world leaders’ table during a G-20 meeting]

Her presence at the high-level table was somewhat unusual, given that government ministers are typically the ones called to stand in for heads of state at such sessions, The Washington Post's Abby Phillip wrote. A spokesman for President Trump's eldest daughter told The Post that she "briefly joined the main table when the President had to step out."

It does not appear that Trump spoke at the session, but her presence at the table was met with widespread criticism on social media.

Some say it further blurs the line between family and political affairs in the Trump administration. Ivanka Trump serves as an adviser to her father. She and her husband, Jared Kushner, also an adviser, are both powerful figures in the White House and have accompanied the president on his foreign trips.

Others came to her defense and said the outrage is an overreaction.

In an interview with "Fox and Friends" last week, Trump said she tries to stay away from politics, despite having a White House role that has expanded since she became a volunteer "assistant to the president," a job without pay that carries ethical obligations . In a statement addressing concerns about her role as the president's adviser, she said:

I have heard the concerns some have with my advising the President in my personal capacity while voluntarily complying with all ethics rules, and I will instead serve as an unpaid employee in the White House Office, subject to all of the same rules as other federal employees. Throughout this process I have been working closely and in good faith with the White House counsel and my personal counsel to address the unprecedented nature of my role.

Her participation at the G-20 summit was not the first time she was criticized for her role in her father's administration. For instance, her presence at a November meeting between her father, then president-elect, and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe immediately raised questions about possible conflicts of interest.

Critics have also said that although she's taken on progressive issues such as paid parental leave, child care and female empowerment, she has done little to moderate her father's nationalistic policies and has yet to publicly comment on the Trump administration's more controversial policies on immigration or climate change. Her defenders said that Trump, who's navigating an uncharted territory for a first daughter, has been unfairly criticized and held to impossible standards.

In a recent interview with The Post defending her White House role, Trump said her job is to inform and support her father, not to make him commit to something he's not interested in.

"I am not sort of trying to selectively curate information that will lead him to agree with me," she said. "Debate is good."

Related: [When Dad’s the president — a look inside Ivanka Trump’s complicated world]

President Trump also has repeatedly praised his older daughter, and acknowledged on Saturday that being a part of his administration has placed her in a difficult position.

"If she weren't my daughter, it would be so much easier for her," President Trump said. "Might be the only bad thing she has going, if you want to know the truth."

The G-20 summit is not the first time she has accompanied her father on his foreign trips. During their trip to Saudi Arabia in May, Trump spoke at a roundtable about women's rights and empowerment.

At the summit in Hamburg, she and her husband participated at a bilateral meeting with Merkel. Trump and her father also participated in a World Bank session on women's entrepreneurship.

Abby Philip contributed to this story.

U.S. President Donald Trump shakes hands with Polish President Andrzej Duda in Warsaw, Poland July 6, 2017. Kancelaria Prezydenta RP/Krzysztof Sitkowski/Handout via REUTERS ?THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.?
U.S. President Donald Trump and Polish President Andrzej Duda arrive for a joint news conference in Warsaw, Poland July 6, 2017. Kancelaria Prezydenta RP/Krzysztof Sitkowski/Handout via REUTERS ?THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.?
Poland's President Andrzej Duda, right, and U.S President Donald Trump attend a news conference with at Royal Castle, in Warsaw, Thursday July 6, 2017. Poland's President says he hopes the European nation will "soon" sign a long-term contract for U.S. liquefied gas deliveries that will help it cut dependence on Russian imports. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Polish President Andrzej Duda (R) and US President Donald Trump shake hands after holding a joint press conference at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, July 6, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
US President Donald Trump arrives for the Three Seas Initiative Summit of Eastern European countries at the Royal Castle in Warsaw, Poland, July 6, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEBSAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
U.S President Donald Trump talks with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, center right, as they arrive for a group photo prior to the Three Seas Initiative transatlantic roundtable in the Great Assembly Hall of the Royal Castle, in Warsaw, Thursday July 6, 2017. The Three Seas Initiative is an alliance among a dozen eastern and central European nations that are bordered by the Adriatic, Baltic and Black seas. The group aims to reduce their dependence on oil and gas supplied by Russia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. President Donald Trump, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic take part in a family photo along with other heads of states and delegates during the Three Seas Initiative Summit in Warsaw, Poland July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
epa06069374 US President Donald Trump addresses the summit of Three Seas Initiative countries in Warsaw, Poland, 06 July 2017. The Three Seas Initiative is a grouping of the 12 nations between the Baltic, Black and Adriatic Seas. EPA/Szilard Koszticsak HUNGARY OUT
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, left, smiles during a meeting with Poland's First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Dudain, at the Belvedere palace in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, July 6, 2017.(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
epa06069281 Polish First Lady Agata Kornauser-Duda (C-L) and US First Lady Melania Trump (C-R) after a tete-a-tete meeting in Belweder Palace in Warsaw, Poland, 06 July 2017. Both first ladies will also attend a ceremony in Warsaw's Krasinskich Square where President Trump will address the Polish nation. EPA/Rafal Guz POLAND OUT
First Lady Melania Trump (L) and Polish President's wife Agata Kornhauser-Duda (R) play with children as they visit the Copernicus Science Center in Warsaw on July 6, 2017. US President Donald Trump is on his first visit behind the former Iron Curtain. He is expected to focus largely on defence in talks with Baltic, Balkan and central European leaders. / AFP PHOTO / ANDRZEJ HULIMKAANDRZEJ HULIMKA/AFP/Getty Images
Daughter of US President, Ivanka Trump (C) and Chief Rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich (2ndL) lay flowers in front of the memorial Monument for the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw, Poland, 06 July 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PAP / Przemyslaw PIATKOWSKIPRZEMYSLAW PIATKOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump arrive at Warsaw military airport in Warsaw, Poland July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Laszlo Balogh
Ivanka Trump and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner arrive accompanying the U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump (not pictured) at Warsaw Chopin Airport in Warsaw, Poland, July 5, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
President Trump, right and the first lady Melania Trump walk past the honor guards as they arrive to Warsaw, Poland, Wednesday, July 5, 2017. President Donald Trump is back to Europe hoping to receive a friendly welcome in Poland despite lingering skepticism across the continent over his commitment to NATO, his past praise of Russian President Vladimir Putin and his decision to pull the U.S. out of a major climate agreement. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are greeted by Polish Minister of State Krzysztof Szczerski, left, and Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski after arriving at Warsaw Chopin Airport, Wednesday, July 5, 2017, in Warsaw. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
epa06068765 The Beast, US presidential Cadillac One limousine, carrying US President Donald J. Trump is seen in Warsaw, Poland, Poland, 05 July 2017. US President Donald J. Trump is on a two-day visit in Poland. He will meet Polish President Andrzej Duda as well as speak to the leaders of Three Seas Initiative nations and address the Polish people at Warsaw's Krasinski Square. POLAND OUT POLAND OUT
President Donald Trump waves as he arrives to deliver a speech at Krasinski Square at the Royal Castle, Thursday, July 6, 2017, in Warsaw. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a speech in Krasinski Square, in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, July 6, 2017.(AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
U.S. President Donald Trump and U.S. First Lady Melania Trump applaud next to Poland's President Andrzej Duda and Poland's first lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda, in Krasinski Square, in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, July 6, 2017. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz)
epa06070673 German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and US President Donald J. Trump (L) attend their meeting in the Hotel Atlantic one day prior to the G20 summit for bilateral talks in Hamburg, Germany, 06 Julty 2017. The G20 Summit (or G-20 or Group of Twenty) is an international forum for governments from 20 major economies. The summit is taking place in Hamburg 07 to 08 July 2017. EPA/JENS SCHLUETER / POOL
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) and US President Donald Trump shake hands prior to a bilateral meeting on the eve of the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, on July 6, 2017. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Michael KappelerMICHAEL KAPPELER/AFP/Getty Images
U.S. President Donald Trump meets South Korea's President Moon Jae-In and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
US President Donald Trump and US First Lady Melania Trump wave as they step off Air Force One upon arrival at the airport in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017. Leaders of the world's top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. / AFP PHOTO / Christof STACHECHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images
German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes U.S. President Donald Trump before bilateral talks on the eve of the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 6, 2017. Steffen Kugler/Courtesy of Bundesregierung/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE
U.S. President Donald Trump meets South Korea's President Moon Jae-In and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ahead the G20 leaders summit in Hamburg, Germany July 6, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
Photo Gallery: He is stopped in Poland before traveling on to Germany for the meeting of world leaders.

READ MORE:

Is Ivanka Trump a passionate political advocate — or a businesswoman building her brand?

Ivanka Trump and the World Bank have a new idea to help women globally

Activists investigating Ivanka Trump brands in China arrested, missing


Kristine Phillips is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post. Contact her at kristine.phillips@washpost.com.

Post Recommends
Outbrain

You obviously love great journalism.

With special savings on our Basic Digital package, you’ll never miss a single story again.

Already a subscriber?

Secure & Encrypted