Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
No matter what, Ivanka Trump always maintains her poise.
During her first international trip as an official representative of the United States in Berlin Tuesday, she fielded a series of tough questions. Miriam Meckel first asked her to define her role in President Donald Trump's administration, then to defend his feelings towards women.
Miriam, editor-in-chief of WirtschaftsWoche, moderated a panel discussion during the W20 Summit. Ivanka sat on stage next to Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund; Queen Maxima of the Netherlands also participated.
At the beginning of the Q&A, Miriam asked Ivanka about her position. "You're the first daughter of the United States, and you're also an assistant to the President. The German audience is not that familiar with the concept of a First Daughter," she 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," a surprised Ivanka replied. "I'm rather unfamiliar with this role as well. It's been a little under 100 days, and it has just been a remarkable and incredible journey."
While Ivanka did not explicitly define what her role as a senior White House official entails, she said she cares deeply "about empowering women in the workplace" and "aims to bring about "incremental positive change. That is my goal. This is very early for me. I'm listening, learning."
Ivanka continued, "I'm defining the ways in which I think I'll be able to have impact."
Calling herself a "feminist," Ivanka added, "I'm striving to think about how best to empower women in the economy. I have no doubt that coming out of this trip I will be more informed."
Ivanka Trump receives pushback while speaking in Berlin after suggesting her father is ?a tremendous champion of supporting families? pic.twitter.com/tncFuZRRbw— CNN (@CNN) April 25, 2017
After Ivanka praised Donald for supporting paid-leave policies, the audience booed and hissed at the First Daughter. "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," Ivanka said as the crowd jeered. "I think in my personal experience—and you were asking me about my role as daughter and as an adviser—as a daughter, I can speak on a very personal level knowing that he encouraged me and enabled me to thrive."
Miriam called attention to the room, saying, "You hear the reaction from the audience."
The moderator didn't let Ivanka off the hook. "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," Miriam said of Donald, who has been accused of assault, sexual misconduct and unwanted advances by more than a dozen women (claims he has repeatedly denied). Ivanka didn't address the accusations during his campaign, and that didn't change in Berlin: "I've certainly heard the criticism from the media that's been perpetuated..."
Instead, Ivanka focused on her own experiences with Donald. "I grew up in a house where there was no barrier to what I could accomplish beyond my own perseverance and tenacity. That's not an easy thing to do; he provided that for us," she said of being raised by a billionaire business magnate. Ivanka added that he treated her the same as her brothers, Donald Trump. Jr. and Eric Trump, who currently run the family business together: "There was no difference."
Asked later about the booing, Ivanka told reporters, "Politics is politics."
"I'm used to it; it's fine. 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 dialogue 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," Ivanka, 35, argued. "I think that's how progress is made."