On Saturday, a Russian official tweeted a photo—and then appeared to delete it—of Ivanka Trump sitting at the leaders’ table at a G–20 meeting on African migration and health. Ivanka was flanked by British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Two seats over were Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Ivanka occupied the U.S. president’s seat at least twice during the meeting, Bloomberg reported.
According to the news agency:
G-20 leaders are allowed to bring staff into the room for some of the meetings, and when other leaders stepped out during today’s session, their seats were briefly filled by others. Ivanka Trump serves as an unpaid adviser to her father, as an assistant to the president.
But her presence at the table is the sort of blurring of lines — between family and official business — that Donald Trump is often criticized for, and it would be unusual for world leaders to have family members take their place at their table. Later in the meeting, Trump’s wife, Melania, joined the U.S. delegation in the room while the president was in the chair.
The typical protocol on such occasions is for government ministers to sit in for heads of state, The Washington Post points out. But Ivanka was there because she’s negotiating a $50 million deal with the World Bank to build a facility for women entrepreneurship.
Earlier, President Trump heaped praise on his favorite daughter, addressing the meeting by saying, “I’m very proud of my daughter Ivanka, always have been from day one. I have to tell you that. If she weren’t my daughter it would be so much easier for her.”
White House officials explained the nepotistic behavior by saying, “Ivanka was sitting at the back and then briefly joined the main table when the President had to step out and the President of the World Bank started talking,” NBC reported.
So what will U.S. taxpayers get from sending the Trump family to Germany? We’re not sure, because the president apparently is refusing to hold a press conference to tell us.