Just when you thought we could address international issues of vital importance to this country without Jared Kushner, in walks Ivanka Trump.
Russian media was particularly quick to point out Ivanka’s presence at the G20 meeting in Hamburg this week as she replaced her dad at the table during a working session on African issues. Embarrassed yet? Russian dictator Vladimir Putin was nearby, and British Prime Minister Teresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping were within whispering distance.
“The delegations themselves decide, should the president not be present for a meeting, who will take the chair, and Ivanka Trump was part of the American delegation,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said later at a press conference. “It is very well known that she works at the White House and that she is engaged in certain initiatives.”
Reaction was immediate and critical. Foreign affairs writer and Pulitzer-winning journalist Anne Applebaum said: “Because an unelected, unqualified, unprepared New York socialite is the best person to represent American national interests.”
Nicholas Kristoff, a columnist for the New York Times, said: “Ivanka fills in for her dad beside Xi Jinping. To me, it feels banana-republicky for the U.S. to be represented by an inexperienced daughter.”
The internet brain trust was no less pointed,: “Enough! Barbie does not belong in our government. She does not belong in the White House. Although if pressed, I will acknowledge she’s probably 10X more qualified to be president that her daddy is, if in decorum alone.” And this explains everything: “I believe she is Secretary of Covfefe. As such, she has broad discretionary power to show up at any world gathering she wants and stand in for her father and act as though she knows stuff.”
Yes, yes, we know all about Ivanka’s workplace initiative for women, her support for the Paris climate accord and parental leave. We’ve heard about these things, but really haven’t seen evidence that Ivanka has done something to ease the burden of American families. She’s been absent during Trump’s meltdowns on his many enemies and has been unable to moderate his tone or message. We’re beginning to think she’s just another pretty face.
The most striking problem with Ivanka’s bold move is that it continues to blur the lines between business and family. The ship of state is not run by the captain’s daughter. If Ivanka was interested in African development, she could have listened in from somewhere else in the room. It would be highly unusual for other world leaders to have family members take their place at the tables of such a high-profile international event. Think, Chelsea Clinton.
It was reported that later in the meeting where Ms Trump took her father’s chair that the First Lady, Melania Trump, also joined the U.S. delegation.
It seems like just yesterday the U.S. celebrated a revolution that freed this country from a tyrannical monarchy and a ruling family. What happened?