Ivanka Trump received a chilly welcome during her first international trip as an official representative of the White House on Tuesday.
Speaking at an women’s entrepreneurship summit in Berlin and seated with a panel that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and moderator and editor-in-chief of WirtschaftsWoche, Miriam Meckel, Ivanka was grilled on President Donald Trump’s attitude towards women, as well as her role in her father’s administration.
“You’re the first daughter of the United States, and you’re also an assistant to the president,” Meckel began. “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’ll have in her capacity, Ivanka said she cared about “women in the workplace” and said she wanted to enact “incremental positive change.”
“That is my goal. This is very early for me, I’m listening, learning,” she said.
Ivanka was a powerful campaign surrogate for her father, particularly when it came to connecting with women voters, and she frequently said her father would work to improve childcare and paid leave policies in the US.
When she brought that point 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 President Trump was “a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive,” she elicited boos from the audience.
Meckel asked Ivanka to address the audience’s reaction as well as her father’s history of controversial attitudes towards women.
“I’ve certainly heard the criticism from the media, that’s been perpetuated,” Ivanka said, drawing on her father’s frequent attacks on the press. She said that she did not recognise the media’s portrayal of her father and neither would the “thousands” of women he has employed.
Trump’s campaign was nearly crippled last October when The Washington Post broke an audio recording that featured Trump 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 also came forward with accusations of sexual misconduct against Trump.
Though Ivanka did not address the point at the summit specifically, she said that 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.”
“There was no difference” between the way she was treated and how her two brothers were treated, Ivanka added.
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. Trump’s campaign was also the first successful presidential campaign led by a woman, Kellyanne Conway, though critics say that Trump has espoused more views that harm women and their health than views that empower women.
Watch a clip of part of the exchange below:
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