Ivanka Trump has admitted she is still getting used to her role in the White House, having been unable to give a clear answer to a question about whether she represents her father, the American people, or her business interests.
Ms Trump said she is still “rather unfamiliar” with what her actual role is in the administration of her father at a women’s economic empowerment conference in Berlin, but confirmed she did not represent her business anymore despite the fact that she still owns her own fashion line.
The erstwhile apparel and jewelry designer is an unpaid “adviser” with an office just steps from the Oval Office, and brushed off scattered groans from the crowd as she defended her father's policies as "politics"
Sharing a stage with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, International Monetary Fund (IMF) director Christine Lagarde, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland and others, Ms Trump was asked by the panel moderator, whom she was representing — President Donald Trump, the American people, or her own business interests.
“Certainly not the latter,” Ms Trump said,
Ms Trump was reportedly invited by Ms Merkel to the G20 side event when The German Chancellor was at the White House last month.
Some experts have suggested the invitation may be a way for Ms Merkel to improve relations with the bombastic US president after her sometimes-awkward meeting with him.
Mr Trump refused to shake hands with Ms Merkel in the Oval Office as is customary and he also made it a point to criticise Germany’s “unfair” low contributions to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato), the 28 country military alliance.
Inga Meyer, a creative director - speaking to NBC News - asked a question on many people’s minds: “Why does she have the power and the position to meet Angela Merkel?“
She said Ms Trump’s appearance on stage next to such accomplished and qualified women like Queen Máxima of the Netherlands and Ms Freeland was “outrageous.”
“I'm listening, I'm learning, I'm defining the ways in which I think that I'll be able to have impact,” Ms Trump, adding that she wants “to bring the advice, to bring the knowledge, back to the United States, back to both my father and the president” in the hopes of having a positive impact.
The president, years prior to his 2016 campaign for office, was caught on tape speaking in crude language about women. His political stances on women’s health legislation and abortion rights has also been widely criticised.
As a result the global Women’s March drew millions of protesters the day after Mr Trump took office.
Ms Trump went as far as saying her father is “a tremendous champion of supporting families” and praised his views on gender equality - to which the crowd responded with groans and jeers loud enough for moderator Miriam Meckel to ask for a response.
“You hear the reaction from the audience, so I need to address one more point: Some attitudes toward women your father has publicly displayed in former times might leave someone questioning whether he is such an empowerer for women,” said Ms Meckel, the editor of a business magazine and a professor of corporate communications at a Swiss university. “Are things changing?”
Ms Trump replied: “I've certainly heard the criticism from the media, and that's been perpetuated.”
She added that her own personal experience and the fact that “thousands” of women have worked with and for Donald Trump for decades in the private sector “are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man.”
Talking later to a small group of reporters, Ms Trump said she was unfazed by Ms Meckel's direct questions in a public forum.
“I'm used to it. It's fine,” she said, and also shrugged off the audience's reaction.
“Politics is politics, as I'm learning, and there are many different viewpoints and people with different options and perspectives,” she said.
Ms Trump recently penned an opinion piece in the Financial Times with co-author World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. They wrote that “only 55 per cent of women participate in the paid labour force globally and they continue to be an untapped source of growth.”
Whether Ms Trump is qualified or has enough influence over the President to change that is up for debate for many women who worry that she may be muddling the roles of her father and the office of the president.
Ms Trump is scheduled to visit the Holocaust Memorial and the Siemens Company while in Germany.
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