World News: Ivanka Trump Is Jeered in Berlin After Defending Her Father
BERLIN — Ivanka Trump shared the stage Tuesday with some of the world’s most powerful women, representing the United States at a meeting of female business leaders.
But during a panel discussion that also included her host, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Ms. Trump was jeered by members of the audience.
On her first official overseas trip as an adviser to the president, Ms. Trump was thrust into a more familiar role — defending her father’s behavior to skeptical foreigners.
“The German audience is not that familiar with the concept of a first daughter,” the panel’s moderator, Miriam Meckel, editor in chief of the financial weekly WirtschaftsWoche, said. “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,” Ms. Trump replied, adding, “And I am rather unfamiliar with this role as well, as it is quite new to me.”
During the panel discussion, which included Ms. Merkel and Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Ms. Trump, 35, relied on a familiar script.
President Trump has been “a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive,” she said. That comment prompted some members of the audience to groan and hiss.
“You hear the reaction from the audience,” Ms. Meckel said. “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.”
Ms. Meckel seemed to be referring to a 2005 video that was publicized during the 2016 presidential election in which Mr. Trump was recorded on an open microphone disparaging women and bragging about sexual assault.
“I’ve certainly heard the criticism from the media, that’s been perpetuated,” Ms. Trump said, leading to laughter from some of the people at the conference.
Ms. Trump added that the thousands of women who worked for her father’s businesses “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.” She said her father had raised her just the same as he did her two brothers. “He encouraged me and enabled me to thrive.”
Ms. Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, are considered among the president’s closest advisers, and she has been a source of fascination and criticism for international observers skeptical of the Trump administration’s motives.
The president’s muted comments on Russia, his criticisms of NATO and his unilateralist tendencies have rattled leaders across the world, especially in Europe.
After a stilted and awkward meeting last month in Washington between Mr. Trump and Ms. Merkel, when there appeared to be little personal chemistry and the president did not publicly shake the chancellor’s hand, Ms. Merkel is said to have approached Ms. Trump as way of cultivating an in with her father’s administration.
Ms. Merkel sat next to Ms. Trump at the White House last month, and invited her to attend the W20 Summit, a meeting focused on women’s leadership in the Group of 20 nations.
Luring Ms. Trump to Germany was “a veritable coup” for Ms. Merkel, wrote Hubert Wetzel in the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung. “The Chancellor quite correctly noted that, for Trump, blood is thicker than water, in economic and political life,” Mr. Wetzel wrote. “To have a good connection to the president’s daughter is worth significantly more than receiving a dozen of his ministers.”
After the lively panel discussion on Tuesday in Berlin, Ms. Trump took the heckling she received from the audience in stride.
“Politics is politics, as I’m learning,” she said with a smile. It is better to disagree openly, she suggested, than to smooth over differences and not advance on policy.