Merkel said Saturday that it is common for delegations to choose other people to sit in on meetings in place of their respective leaders, according to the Associated Press.
“Ivanka Trump belonged to the American delegation, so that is in line with what other delegations do. And it is known that she works at the White House and carries responsibility for certain initiatives," Merkel said.
Ivanka briefly took President Donald Trump's seat at an official G20 event when he stepped out of the room. Photographs show her sitting in between Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The swap prompted backlash on social media.
Journalist Kurt Eichenwald criticized the move calling it "a historic, idiotic blunder."
One of former President Barack Obama's former advisors tweeted, "Sort of the whole point of America was that governmental authority was bestowed by the people not by birth."