Ivanka Trump now serves in a nebulous but powerful role in the White House. As is the case with her husband, former newspaper owner and real estate developer Jared Kushner, her main qualification for being there is that she happens to be family with President Trump.
On Tuesday, Ivanka was in Berlin to represent the United States in a panel at the W20 Summit, an international convention dedicated to the “economic empowerment of women.” The moderator of Ivanka’s W20 panel pulled no punches, asking her right away to clarify her White House role.
Moderator gets to it! "The Germans are not that familiar with the concept of a first daughter. What is your role?”
— Annie Karni (@anniekarni) April 25, 2017
“Whom are you representing?” the moderator continued, as the audience burst out in laughter. “Your father as the president of the United States, the American people, or your business?”
Ivanka replied by saying “certainly not the latter.”
“I am rather unfamiliar with this role as well as it is quite new to me,” she continued. “As an entrepreneur and an individual prior to this in the private sector, I cared very much about empowering women in the workplace. And the opportunity to have an elevated platform, to be able to sit here on this stage — and thank you chancellor for your very gracious invitation — I am humbled to be here with so many formidable leaders, to engage in dialogue, to learn, to bring the advice, the knowledge back to the United States, back to both my father, and the president, and hopefully that will bring about incremental positive change, and that is my goal.”
Later, Ivanka was asked about her father’s attitude toward women. Last October, video footage of Trump bragging about assaulting women publicly emerged. That led to at least 13 women emerging to accuse Trump of forcibly kissing or touching them without consent. Trump denied every claim and publicly attacked his accusers, threatening to sue them after the election (he hasn’t) and belittling their physical appearances.
Ivanka suggested the media was responsible for portraying her father in a negative light, saying, “I certainly heard the criticism from the media, and that’s been perpetuated, but I know from personal experience, and I think the thousands of people who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability do to the job as well as any man.”
But Ivanka’s response — particularly her reference to the media — was met by jeers from the crowd.
Boos and hisses from female delegates as Ivanka mentions her father pic.twitter.com/EwmYZqTJmt
— jenny hill (@jennyhillBBC) April 25, 2017
The crowd also booed and hissed when Ivanka claimed her father was “a tremendous champion of supporting families, and enabling them to thrive” throughout his campaign.
Ivanka was asked about the mostly female crowd booing her after the panel concluded. “Politics is politics, as I’m learning,” she said, according to Bloomberg.
Earlier this month, Ivanka defended her reluctance to speak out publicly about the disagreements she has with her father during an interview with CBS This Morning.
“If being complicit is wanting to be a force for good and to make a positive impact, then I’m complicit,” Ivanka said. “You asked me about — people who criticize me for not taking to social media on every single issue, and I would ask them if that would render me more effective or less effective with the people ultimately making decisions… I think most of the impact I have, over time, most people will not actually know about.”
But some Germans aren’t convinced she should be afforded the opportunity to have so much influence in the White House in the first place. Ahead of Ivanka’s visit to Berlin, Andrea Seibel, an opinion editor at Die Welt, said, “What does a daughter with no political experience have to do in the White House?”
“We have family clan experiences in autocracies,” Seibel told Politico. “Ivanka Trump isn’t elected, she is a daughter. She didn’t say anything in the elections when he was saying nasty things about women and migrants. She is his voice, but somehow she has a nicer face.”