By Michelle Martin
BERLIN (Reuters) – Ivanka Trump was booed in Berlin last Tuesday when she described her father Donald as a “tremendous champion of supporting families” and said she was still fine-tuning her role as first daughter and informal White House adviser.
Trump, 35, who is seen as an increasingly important influence on her father, told a women’s summit organised by the Group of 20 major economies in the German capital that she wanted to use her influence to help empower women.
Asked whether she represented the president, the American people or her business as first daughter, she replied: “Well certainly not the latter, and I am rather unfamiliar with this role … it has been a little under 100 days but it has just been a remarkable and incredible journey.”
Ivanka Trump’s appointment as an adviser, with access to classified information, was highly unusual for the daughter of a president. Seeking to allay ethics concerns, she said last month she would serve in the White House in an unpaid, informal role.
In Berlin, she discussed support for women entrepreneurs with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde among others.
“I’m listening, I’m learning, I’m defining the ways in which I think that I’ll be able to have impact,” she told the panel discussion.
“I’m seeking the counsel .. . of informed and thoughtful women and men and I’moving the discussion on amid a chorus of boos.
Donald Trump found himself at the centre of a furious controversy during the presidential campaign when a video surfaced in which he boasted about grabbing women’s genitals.
Asked whether some of the attitudes expressed by her father raised questions over his commitment to empowering women, Ivanka Trump said her experience and that of thousands of women who had worked for him showed he believed in women’s potential.
“I grew up in a house where there were no barriers to what I could accomplish … there was no difference for me and my brothers and I think as a business leader you saw that and as a president you’ll absolutely see that,” she said.
During the Berlin discussion, Donald Trump tweeted a link to a Financial Times editorial Ivanka co-authored with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on investment in women and said he was “proud” of his daughter for “her leadership on these important issues”.
Ivanka Trump’s visit has received a mixed response in German media. The newspaper Berliner Zeitung, which has described her as “the president’s whisperer”, said German officials would “certainly be hoping that the president’s daughter will convey a positive image of Germany to her father”.
Another paper, Tagesspiegel, was more sniffy about her credentials, opining that Trump’s dependence on family members – also including her husband Jared Kushner, a chief presidential adviser – was like a “vote of no confidence” in everyone else he was surrounded by.
(additional reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Michelle Martin; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Richard Lough)