- Thomson Reuters
Ivanka Trump received a chilly welcome on Tuesday during her first international trip as an official White House representative.
Speaking at the W20 women’s entrepreneurship summit in Berlin and seated with a panel that included Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Miriam Meckel, the moderator and editor-in-chief of WirtschaftsWoche, Ivanka was grilled on President Donald Trump’s attitude toward women, as well as her role in her father’s administration.
Meckel started the discussion by asking Trump about her new position in the White House.
“You’re the first daughter of the United States, and you’re also an assistant to the president,” Meckel said. “The German audience is not that familiar with the concept of a first daughter. I’d like to ask you, what is your role, and who are you representing – your father as president of the United States, the American people, or your business?”
“Certainly not the latter,” Trump replied. “I’m rather unfamiliar with this role as well. … It has been a little under 100 days, and it has just been a remarkable and incredible journey.”
Although she did not expand on the responsibilities she will have, Trump said she cared about “women in the workplace” and that she wanted to enact “incremental positive change.”
“That is my goal,” she said. “This is very early for me. I’m listening, learning.”
Trump was a powerful campaign surrogate for her father, particularly when it came to connecting with female voters, and she frequently said her father would work to improve child care and paid leave policies in the US.
When she brought that up at the summit, however, it was not received well.
“I’m very proud of my father’s advocacy,” she said. When she added that he was “a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive,” the audience booed.
Meckel asked Ivanka to address the audience’s reaction, as well as her father’s history of controversial attitudes toward women.
“I’ve certainly heard the criticism from the media that’s been perpetuated,” Trump said. She said she did not recognize the media’s portrayal of her father and said neither would the “thousands” of women he has employed.
The Washington Post in October published an audio recording that featured Donald bragging about being able to “grab” women “by the p—y,” and saying that “when you’re a star, they let you do it.” Over a dozen women have come forward to accuse Trump of sexual misconduct.
Though Ivanka did not specifically address that at the summit, she said she “grew up in a house where there was no barriers to what I could accomplish beyond my own perseverance and tenacity. That’s not an easy thing to do. He provided that for us.”
She said there was “no difference” between the way she was treated and how her brothers were treated. She also pointed to the role of women in the Trump administration.
“The team basically going through the vetting and hiring process – six out of eight of those people are women,” she said.
Donald’s campaign was also the first successful presidential campaign led by a woman, Kellyanne Conway, though critics have said he has espoused more views that harm women and their health than that empower women.
Watch a clip of part of the exchange: