By Claire Zillman
July 11, 2017

U.S. President Donald Trump broadcast Angela Merkel’s support of his daughter’s presence at the G20 meeting on Monday. In defending Ivanka Trump’s filling in for him at a working session on “Partnership With Africa, Migration and Health,” the president tweeted: “When I left Conference Room for short meetings with Japan and other countries, I asked Ivanka to hold seat. Very standard. Angela M agrees!”

(He also defended the move by lobbing an odd hypothetical about the Clintons, which prompted Chelsea Clinton to snap back on Twitter.)

Indeed Merkel had justified Ivanka Trump’s seat at the table, saying it was normal considering the first daughter-slash-presidential adviser’s role in her father’s inner circle.

“Ivanka Trump belonged to the American delegation, so that is in line with what other delegations do,” Merkel said. “And it is known that she works at the White House and carries responsibility for certain initiatives.”

Merkel is an unlikely defender of Ivanka Trump considering the German chancellor’s vast differences with her U.S. counterpart. Merkel has clashed repeatedly with President Trump on policy. He has, for instance, called her approach to immigration “insane” and a “disaster.” Plus, Merkel’s upbringing as the daughter of a Lutheran pastor is at complete odds with the Trumps’ lavish lifestyle.

But Merkel has invested in her relationship with Ivanka Trump ever since the new U.S. administration took office. After the two met during Merkel’s initial visit to the White House, the chancellor invited the first daughter to an event on female entrepreneurship in Berlin in April. Merkel’s overtures are beginning to pay off. After all, as the Washington Post points out, it was Ivanka—not a cabinet member or senior official—who filled in for the president.

 

@clairezillman

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