The reaction was immediate, horrified and not at all complimentary.
As America woke to the news that Donald Trump had dispatched his eldest daughter, Ivanka, to fill in for him at a G20 meeting with world leaders, the response of people ran from outraged to stunned, and then back to outraged.
“Why the hell is Ivanka Trump sitting in for daddy at G20 meetings?! What are her qualifications? Who voted for her?” the writer Charles Blow said on Twitter.
Pulitzer-winning journalist Anne Applebaum, said: “Because an unelected, unqualified, unprepared New York socialite is the best person to represent American national interests.”
Nicholas Kristoff, a columnist for the New York Times, said: “Ivanka fills in for her dad beside Xi Jinping. To me, it feels banana-republicky for the US to be represented by an inexperienced daughter.”
Because an unelected, unqualified, unprepared New York socialite is the best person to represent American national interests https://t.co/hmRCfwebCc
— Anne Applebaum (@anneapplebaum) July 8, 2017
The outcry was sparked after a Russian official, Svetlana Lukash, posted an image of Ms Trump – later apparently deleted – sitting at a table of world leaders alongside British Prime Minister Theresa May and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
“2nd day of #G20 Hamburg summit starts with Africa, Migration & Health. Ivanka accompanies Pres Trump,” wrote Ms Lukash. “And replaces Pres Trump at the #G20 table as he leaves for bilateral meetings.”
This kind of thing happens all the time. In dictatorships. https://t.co/CKiLwhvjDz
— Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) July 8, 2017
Matthew Dowd, a political strategist who led George W Bush’s reelection campaign in 2004, said there would have been outcry among supporters of Mr Trump had Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton sent in their children.
“Can you imagine what the GOP/Trump fans would be saying if this was Chelsea or Malia doing this? We are a Republic, not a monarchy,” he said.
Brian Katulis said: “Trump running things like a corrupt Arab dictator.”
— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) July 8, 2017
A White House official later told CNN: “Ivanka was sitting in the back and then briefly joined the main table when the President had to step out.”
Bloomberg News said that Ms Trump had taken her father’s position at the table on at least two occasions on Saturday.
A spokesman for Ms Trump told the news agency she had been sitting in the back of the room and then briefly joined the main table when the President stepped out. He said the president of the World Bank addressed the meeting, which was about African migration and health – areas that would benefit from a facility that Mr Trump and the World Bank had announced shortly before the meeting.
Mr Trump has repeatedly been accused of blurring the line between family and his official business since he entered the White House, and failed to establish a blind trust for his business interests. He also insisted on his daughter and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, joining him in the West Wing.
It was reported that later in the meeting where Ms Trump took her father’s chair that the First Lady, Melania Trump, also joined the US delegation.
Earlier, the President’s daughter took part in a World Bank event on a fund for women entrepreneurs. Mr Trump praised her work on the fund at the event.
“I’m very proud of my daughter Ivanka, always have been from day one. I have to tell you that, from day one,” he said. “If she weren’t my daughter it’d be so much easier for her. It might be the only bad thing she has going if you want to know the truth.”