Ivanka Trump, who just two weeks ago said she “tries to stay out of politics,” found herself seated between Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G20 Summit on Saturday—a seat that is supposed to be occupied by another Trump. You know, the one who is President of the United States. President Trump apparently needed to take off for another bi-lateral meeting, and left his daughter, an advisor he appointed who has no elected role in the United States government, to fill in for him.
Photos of Ms. Trump at the meeting rapidly circulated and garnered widespread criticism. While it’s not unheard of for the President to sometimes be double booked, it’s usually another high-ranking government official who fills in when the Commander in Chief needs to be in two places at once. German chancellor Angela Merkel tried to explain Ivanka’s presence, noting that “she works at the White House and is engaged in certain initiatives.” But that wasn’t enough to quell the shock at the break with precedent and seeming conflict of interest, or the numerous observations that it was a member of Putin’s camp who snapped the photo and made sure it went viral: