HAMBURG — First daughter Ivanka Trump moved up to the front row of global diplomacy Saturday, leading an effort to promote women entrepreneurs and then taking over President Trump's seat at the G-20 summit.
As an unpaid adviser to her father, Ivanka Trump has championed women and family issues like paid leave, child care and a World Bank fund to promote women-owned small businesses in the developing world.
But as President Trump stepped away from the a G-20 session Saturday to meet with the president of Indonesia, Ivanka literally took his seat among world leaders, sitting between between Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Theresa May.
Ivanka Trump was caught at the head table by an aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who tweeted out a photo of the event. The aide later deleted the tweet, but not before it made the rounds on the Internet.
A White House aide not authorized to speak publicly about the matter confirmed Ivanka Trump briefly joined the main table when the president stepped away. The aide insisted the arrangement was not unusual.
The aide also noted the issue being discussed — African development — was one that Ivanka has taken an interest in, and was related to her work on women's empowerment.
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President Trump himself is using the summit of the world's top economies to showcase his daughter, who has now played a visible role in each of the seven countries Trump has visited as president. Ivanka Trump could be seen coming and going from several of her father's one-on-one meetings with world leaders Saturday.
"I'm very proud of my daughter Ivanka, always have been from day one. I have to tell you that," Trump said at an event for the women's entrepreneurship fund. "If she weren't my daughter it would be so much easier for her. It might be the only bad thing going for her, if you want to know the truth."
Trump lent his support to that effort Saturday by pledging $50 million from the United States to jump-start the effort.
"By investing in women around the world, we're investing in families, we're investing in prosperity and we're investing in peace," Trump said at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, where global leaders embraced the World Bank-led program.
The Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or We-Fi, will provide loans, mentorship and other services to small businesses run by women around the world, and especially in its poorest countries. The World Bank is seeking $1 billion in pledges.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who hosted world leaders for two days of meetings in this German port city, said the program will be one of the most lasting accomplishments of the summit.
“If everything went so quickly by the World Bank as the creation of such a fund, we'd have more success on the international stage,” she said.
Trump cast the effort in both moral and economic terms, saying that including more women in the workforce would also provide "a lot more competition for people like me, prior to becoming a politician."
"That's a lot of competition," he said. "Talented competition."