Ivanka Trump faced a frustrated audience when she responded to questions about her father, President Donald Trump, at the W20 Summit in Berlin on Tuesday.
Thanks to the Trump family's infamy, she tackled an aggressive line of questioning that the other panelists didn't. Still, she kept her answers vague and her replies evasive, drawing boos and hisses from the majority-women crowd.
Trump was invited to attend the summit as a senior White House official by German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Given the global public's general confusion about where business ends and politics begin in the Trump administration, as well as the exact role the president's family members play in the government, the questions posed to Trump could have almost written themselves.
"You're the first daughter of the United States and you're also an assistant to the president," said moderator Miriam Meckel, editor-in-chief of WirtschaftsWoche, a German business magazine. "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?"
Meckel's question appeared to put Trump on the spot, but she recovered and answered with the manufactured grace and humbleness she's known for while deftly avoiding revealing anything of real substance.
"Certainly not the latter," she said. "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."
Trump emphasized how important women's rights were to her, even calling herself a feminist, and described her goal to work toward "incremental change" as an advocate of equal opportunities for women in business. However, Trump did not give any further details about her role in her father's administration and continued to put on the attitude of a mere student and observer to current politics.
"This is very early for me," she said. "I'm listening, learning."
Inevitably, the talk turned to her father's sexist attitude toward women.
"Sadly, the United States is one of the only countries in the world, the only developed country in the world, that doesn’t have a paid-leave policy for the benefit of families," Trump said. "So that is something I’m very proud of my father’s advocacy, long before he came into the presidency, he championed this in the primaries. He’s been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive in the new reality of…”
The audience interrupted her there with hisses and boos, their visceral reactions spotlighting the hypocrisy that marred her otherwise typically contrived answer.
Meckel pushed for her to address the crowd's negative response: “You hear the reaction from the audience. I need to address one more point — some attitudes toward women your father has displayed might leave one questioning whether he’s such an empowerer for women.”
"I've certainly heard the criticism from the media and that's been perpetuated, but I know from personal experience, and I think the thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was 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," Trump said.
After the summit, reporters asked Trump how she felt after the booing, and she shrugged it off as something she was "used to."
"I think, you know, for me and I sort of said it at the end, I think what's so important is we have to be able to engage in dialog with one another and we have to be able to have different viewpoints and feel comfortable candidly expressing ourselves without fear of being labeled and ostracized," she said. "And I think that's how progress is made."
As always, Ivanka Trump's words are pretty, nearly tricking you into believing her shady business dealings and the president's volatility are all just a horrible misunderstanding. Then you remember all the reasons the audience booed her, and Trump's words are no longer pretty, just pretend.