Politico writes that German chancellor Angela Merkel is one shrewd politician. Most of us were stunned at the audacity of the White House to seat Ivanka Trump -- then having no formal position in the administration and no political experience --next to Merkel, one of the most important leaders in the world, when she visited Washington in March.
Undaunted, Merkel quickly identified Ivanka as a back channel to the President and followed up her meeting with Trump with an invitation to his daughter, inviting her to speak Tuesday at the W20 Summit in Berlin alongside Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde, among others, for a panel on women’s entrepreneurship.
Her inclusion on a panel of world leaders gives as much insight into Merkel’s strategy for diplomacy with the U.S. president -- who during the 2016 election called her insane and accused her of “ruining” Germany – as it does about the ambitious first daughter. But it provides Ivanka Trump with her biggest international platform yet.
Most of Europe remains skeptical about Ivanka -- while the Chinese are crazy about her.
“What does a daughter with no political experience have to do in the White House?” said Andrea Seibel, an opinion editor at Die Welt, the influential conservative-leaning Berlin daily, where editors huddling in the newsroom Monday afternoon planned to give front-page coverage to the visit.
“We have family clan experiences in autocracies,” said Seibel. “Ivanka Trump isn’t elected, she is a daughter. She didn’t say anything in the elections when he was saying nasty things about women and migrants. She is his voice, but somehow she has a nicer face.”
The coverage of Ivanka Trump in the German press in the days leading up to her speech was similar to that at home, where she has been criticized on late night programs like “Saturday Night Live” for being “complicit” in her father’s agenda. The front page of one daily newspaper, Berliner Zeitung, featured a photograph of Ivanka Trump under the headline “First Flusterin,” or “the first whisperer.”
Ivanka can read the headlines, and anticipating not being taken seriously, having no policy chops, the Trump daughter co-authored an op-ed in The Financial Times, with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, arguing that the estimated 170-year timeline to close the gender pay gap "is unacceptable."
“We need to increase access to finance, redistribute care work, accelerate progress to financial inclusion, and offer programmes that train female entrepreneurs and help them access higher value markets,” the two wrote.
“We need to develop new legal and regulatory frameworks to boost women’s growth and productivity. The right skills training enhances women’s capacity to manage their businesses. And mentorship opportunities and access to networks bring learning opportunities and connections to capital and markets.”
The op-ed cites research that shows billions could be added to the global economy by “creating an enabling environment” for women in the workplace.
“Our challenge now is to work together — in public and private sectors — to move decisively to invest in women worldwide,” Trump and Kim wrote.
It's ironic to read Ivanka Trump's commentary about empowering women in developing countries, after her father has decimated family-planning budgets in place under the Obama Administration and instituted when Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State.
Melinda Gates has been on a crusade from the day after Trump's Inauguration, pleading for the cuts to be reinstated and certainly to not be made even more onerous and restrictive than under the George W. Bush administration. Quite simply, there is no greater success vehicle for women entrepreneurs worldwide than family planning programs and because of the size of the US economy, we have been leaders in this field under Democratic presidents.
Melinda is not attending the G20 meeting in Berlin, but she does have a five-minute video message scheduled for 11:15-11:20 am on Tuesday. There is no doubt that she will address the contraception problem caused by the Trump administration pulling their support for these empowering programs.
Melinda Gates was just named one of TIME's 100 most influential people, and her video is devoted to discussing contraception. We can assume that she will address contraception tomorrow -- and if Ivanka Trump wants to play in the big leagues, she should assume that women of the caliber of IMF chair Christine Lagarde will diplomatically confront her about the deadly and unempowering actions of her father's administration on women worldwide.