In a move that has rankled many of the Trump administration’s critics, the president’s daughter sat between British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping during her father’s temporary absence from a working session of world leaders titled “Partnership with Africa, Migration and Health.”
A Russian official tweeted a photograph of Ivanka Trump sitting in between the duo and it immediately went viral. The image has since been deleted, but not before it could be shared and criticized by people online:
Many critics questioned just why Trump’s daughter, who is an official but unpaid adviser to her father, should represent the U.S. on such an important world stage ― albeit for a short period of time.
According to Agence France-Presse, a White House official has confirmed that Ivanka Trump “briefly joined the main table when the president had to step out.”
The official said other world leaders’ seats were “also briefly filled by others” when they left the table. The BBC points out “high-ranking officials” usually cover for leaders when they are absent.
It’s not clear exactly why Trump left the meeting, nor how long he was away. The original tweet suggested it was so he could attend “bilateral talks.”
A BBC correspondent noted that Ivanka Trump “did not seem to make any major contribution to the session” during the time she was filling in.
Donald Trump had earlier used a World Bank session on women’s entrepreneurship to sing his daughter’s praises. Watch the video here:
“I’m very proud of my daughter, Ivanka, always have been, from day one, I had to tell you that, from day one,” he said. “She’s always been great. A champion. She’s a champion.”
Trump then speculated as to whether life would be “easier for her” if she “weren’t my daughter.”
“That might be the only bad thing she has going, if you want to know the truth,” he added.