HAMBURG, Germany—Ivanka Trump might say that she “tries to stay out of politics," but that didn’t stop her from sliding into her father’s chair in the middle of a meeting on Africa, Health and Migration when President Trump “had to step out“ and escape the earnest and nitty gritty affair that is his perception of the G20 for another cheeky one-to-one on the sidelines.
“It is very well known that she works at the White House,“ Merkel explained briskly to an intrigued Wall Street Journal reporter at a press conference later.
While Chancellor Merkel also said that negotiations with the United States continue to be “very difficult,” especially on trade, Trump’s unofficial advisor appeared at a panel today to take credit for one of the only concrete new things introduced this summit— the Women Entrepreneur’s Finance Initiative, a World Bank project that focuses on promoting women’s entrepreneurship in developing country.
“I am very proud of Ivanka,” President Trump said at the panel. He joked that Ivanka being his daughter “might be the only bad thing she has going.”
The first daughter’s presence at the summit today seemed to captivate at least one other attendee, Russian G20 Sherpa Svetlana Lukash who took a break from tweeting her government's propaganda about the 2016 election, to promote the first daughter. Yesterday, Lukash sent a now-deleted tweet stating, "Pres Putin points to G20 partners on absence of real evidence & confirms that Russia had never interfered in US election." Today, Lukash tweeted several pictures of Ms. Trump, including one where she looks professional and at ease talking to Theresa May and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnball. Ivanka reportedly raised Britain’s work on modern slavery and asked if May’s government could send her information on it.
Unlike her father, step-mother and Rex Tillerson, Ivanka Trump also did not experienced any reported difficulties getting around a city that is increasingly beginning to resemble a lord of the flies scenario. While Melania Trump spent yesterday besieged in her guest house, Ivanka dined at the Four Seasons on Thursday night, where the chief reporter of Hamburg’s daily paper shyly approached the, in his words, “experienced model,” in order to ask for a selfie.
President Trump, in the meantime, stands ready to be turned into a footnote on the international circuit once more, and this time in actual writing. The final communiqué this afternoon pits 19 other G20 countries that consider the Paris Agreement to be “irreversible“ against him.
And the president’s team didn’t exactly smooth things over when they insisted on adding the threat that the US will “work together” with other member states in order to help them access “fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.”
Environmental activists are happy that “the isolation of the United States is becoming visible,“ but this is not primarily what Merkel was going for. As summit host she was determined to send a strong signal that all other nations would remain loyal to the Paris agreement and worked hard to persuade some of the other nations to stand up to President Trump. Although, another major factor, according to environmental lobbyist Christoph Bals, were “the obvious economic arguments“ for continuing to endorse the Paris Agreement.
But Hamburg’s residents for one, may not be paying much attention to this strong signal right now, as they are busy dealing with their burned out cars and smashed windows, which represent the carnage of a summit that city dwellers did not want and, in contrast, have made the G20 look increasingly like a flashy red carpet event.
So perhaps it is fitting that the first daughter is having such a nice time.