Ivanka Trump, who does not have any meaningful foreign policy or diplomatic experience, briefly took over for her father at a table of world leaders at the G20 summit — essentially stepping in as a head of state.
President Donald Trump’s daughter — an official White House employee who has taken on an outsized role in the Trump administration despite ethical questions about possibly violating nepotism laws — slipped into his seat during a working session on “Partnership with Africa, Migration and Health.” The president had left the room to conduct one-on-one meetings.
A photo of the working session posted to Twitter by a Russian official in attendance shows the first daughter seated near British Prime Minister Theresa May, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The official who posted the photo later deleted her tweet.
The White House has confirmed that Ivanka Trump sat in for the president at the world leaders’ table during part of the session. “Ivanka was sitting in the back and then briefly joined the main table when the president had to step out,” a White House official told CBS News.
It’s not unusual for a head of state to step out and bring in someone else to replace them at the G-20 leaders’ table. But it is unusual for that stand-in to be one of their children. The replacement is typically a government minister.
Ivanka Trump, who works as an unpaid assistant to the president, has assumed an incredible amount of responsibility in her father’s administration even though the White House hasn’t been transparent about what her official duties include. Trump herself has claimed she doesn’t want to be involved in politics.
Trump has participated in several meetings with heads of state, even before she took a formal leave of absence from her role at the Trump Organization, raising serious concerns about financial conflicts of interest. She reportedly weighs in on major policy decisions, such as President Trump’s decision to bomb Syria earlier this year. She represents her father at public appearances and defends his policies at international conferences.
Many of Trump’s children have prominent positions in the White House, regardless of their levels of qualification or their entanglements with the Trump family’s business interests. There’s been some evidence that the Trump kids have pushed for changes to White House policy that would benefit the financial prospects of the Trump brand.
Ivanka Trump and her brother, Eric, have both defended nepotism, saying that it’s a “factor of life.”