Ivanka Trump's Big Role on Trip Is a Hot Topic

President's daughter raises her profile on world stage, and critics pounce
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 1, 2019 8:07 AM CDT
Ivanka Trump's Big Role on Trip Is a Hot Topic
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner walk in the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone, South Korea, Sunday, June 30, 2019.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Ivanka Trump didn't just accompany her father on his recent overseas trip, she played a prominent role as as an official diplomat in meetings with foreign leaders. The first daughter even became one of the relatively few Americans to have stepped foot inside North Korea, an experience she described as "surreal," per the Independent. Much of the coverage hasn't exactly been glowing, with critics complaining that Trump is overstepping her role as White House adviser. The details:

  • Her role: The Washington Post has a story assessing the "the gray area she occupies—family, employee, envoy, advocate," one that "frequently overlaps with the work of career diplomats." A big quote in the story comes from former US ambassador Christopher Hill: "It looks to the rest of the world like we have a kind of a constitutional monarchy," he says, calling this "increasingly problematic in terms of our credibility."

  • The video: One big part of the weekend chatter is a video showing Ivanka Trump chatting with a few world leaders. Much of the coverage from the short snippet has been negative, describing her attempt to join the conversation as "super awkward" (HuffPost) and worse. Of note, though: Everyone is just interpreting the body language of the world leaders, and nobody has actually talked to them about the moment. Still, the memes have begun, notes Business Insider.
  • Pushing back: The New York Times notes that Ivanka Trump seemed to be looking for a moment in the conversation to broach her key topic of female empowerment. "The same with the defense side of it, in terms of the whole business that’s been, sort of, male-dominated," she interjected, after the UK's Theresa May had spoken. IMF exec Christine LaGarde "swiveled her head and blinked several times as she listened," per the Times. It is LaGarde's reaction many seem to be interpreting as negative. A White House spokesperson calls the video a "misrepresentation" and the criticism surrounding it "absolutely pathetic."
  • AOC: Among the critics was Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. "It may be shocking to some, but being someone’s daughter actually isn’t a career qualification," she tweeted. To which outgoing White House press chief Sarah Sanders responded: "AOC is wasting your time on Twitter while destroying jobs in NY." President and Ivanka Trump "actually created millions of new jobs and continue to make the US stronger on the global stage but thank you for reminding Americans everyday why they elected Trump."
  • Another video: Ivanka Trump also appeared in a White House video recapping her father's meeting with leaders including India's Narendra Modi. Typically, a national security staffer provides such recaps, notes CNN, which reports that national security officials back in DC "bristled" at the first daughter's big role overseas.
  • Big question: A Financial Times analysis also assesses all this and asserts that the first daughter's prominent G20 presence was puzzling to world leaders. (It doesn't quote any, however.) "The larger question is whether Ms Trump harbours political ambitions of her own," writes Edward Luce. President Trump has said his daughter would be tough to beat if she ever ran for president on her own, and he made a point to bring her on stage as he addressed US troops in South Korea on Sunday. "Has anyone heard of Ivanka? Come up, Ivanka. She's going to steal the show."
(Read more Ivanka Trump stories.)

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