‘Foreign Leaders Loved Her’: President Trump Defends Ivanka’s Role at G20 Summit

By Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.
July 5, 2019 Updated: July 6, 2019

President Donald Trump defended his oldest daughter’s role at the G-20 summit in Osaka, Japan amid criticism for her lack of diplomatic experience.

“I thought Ivanka was amazing at the G20,” Trump told reporters before leaving Washington on July 5. “And I’ll tell you, the foreign leaders loved her, and they just think she’s great.”

Ivanka, who is an adviser to the president, represented the United States in several meetings with world leaders over the two days. She was also invited to speak at a special women’s empowerment event during the summit.

She has been focused on women’s education and economic empowerment and had helped launch the administration’s Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative earlier in the year. She has also toured parts of the world to promote the economic initiative for women.

Her appearance at the international event prompted questions about her suitability to take such an important role and sparked a backlash from critics like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.).

Trump, nevertheless, praised his daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, for their hard work during the summit.

“She’s very smart, and she’s done a great job. She sacrificed a lot,” Trump said. “Ivanka and Jared work very hard, and they sacrificed a lot to be doing this, but they want to do it.”

“Ivanka has worked on almost 10 million jobs—training, and going to companies, and getting them to hire people,” he added.

Trump was then asked whether he was grooming Ivanka for office, in which he replied, “I’m not grooming her for office. No.”

On June 29, Ocasio-Cortez took issue with Ivanka on Twitter after a BBC reporter posted a video of the president’s daughter participating in G-20 discussions alongside her father with French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, and other world leaders.

“It may be shocking to some, but being someone’s daughter actually isn’t a career qualification. It hurts our diplomatic standing when the president phones it in & the world moves on,” the freshman congresswoman wrote in response to the video.

“The US needs our president working the G-20. Bringing a qualified diplomat couldn’t hurt either,” she added.

Following her comments, many prominent figures pushed back on Ocasio-Cortez’s criticism by reminding the Democratic socialist congresswoman of Ivanka’s achievements that had benefited many Americans.

Among them was former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders who took the opportunity to remind Ocasio-Cortez that she needed to spend less time on Twitter and criticized her for “phoning it in” and “destroying jobs in New York.”

“Phoning it in AOC is wasting your time on Twitter while destroying jobs in NY,” Sanders wrote, referring to Ocasio-Cortez’s role in the failed Amazon deal to build portions of its second headquarter in Long Island City, Queens.

Similarly, Republican National Committee spokeswoman Elizabeth Harrington shared similar sentiments about Ivanka.

“IvankaTrump is an accomplished businesswoman & working mom. She helped pass criminal justice reform & the Pledge to America’s Workers has secured job training for 9M Americans. It may be shocking to some, but a socialist bartender might not know how to keep this economy booming,” Harrington said.

Meanwhile, British journalist and television personality Piers Morgan also stood up for Ivanka while criticizing the congresswoman in a series of tweets and an op-ed for the Mail Online.

“I’ve known @IvankaTrump for 13 years & seen her at work in many different scenarios.  She’s one of the smartest people I know, as well as one of the most loyal, diligent & decent.  Your desire to belittle her says more about you than her,” Morgan said in a tweet at the time.

Morgan called out Ocasio-Cortez for criticizing Ivanka for her lack of experience by reminding her that “she herself was still working as a bartender when she won the New York 14th congressional district primary election a year ago.”

This prompted Ocasio-Cortez to reply by doubling down on her comments. She said: “Actually, that would make government better—not worse. Imagine if more people in power spent years of their lives actually working for a living.”

Morgan then pointed out in his op-ed that Ivanka had “worked very hard all her life.”

“Ivanka enjoyed a successful modeling career before joining her father’s business—working for Versace, Thierry Mugler, and Tommy Hilfiger, and appearing on myriad magazine covers,” Morgan wrote.

“She could have carried on doing that, or chosen to do nothing at all. She had no financial need [to] work at all. But instead, she devoted herself to becoming a top businesswoman,” he added.

Janita Kan
Janita Kan is a reporter based in New York covering the Justice Department, courts, and First Amendment.