Over the weekend, Ivanka Trump made a splash at the G20 summit in Japan, and not in a good way. Once again, we saw her exploiting her father’s presidency and penchant for nepotism to insert herself into a diplomatic situation where she clearly didn’t belong. She has no experience in international relations (unless you count running sweatshops in foreign countries), yet there she was hobnobbing with heads of states and appearing in photos beside them.
The low point for her came when a viral video took Twitter by storm. In it, Ivanka was filmed loitering near a group of leaders. As they tried to conduct a conversation she repeatedly tried to butt in, offering her inexpert opinions as Canadian President Justin Trudeau and British Prime Minister Theresa May alternated between outright ignoring her and patronizing her with token attention.
Christine Lagarde, the Managing Director of the IMF can be seen looking at Ivanka in the clip, clearly puzzled by her presence. Ivanka herself seemed acutely aware of their disdain as evinced by her uncomfortable expression and body language, but refused to remove herself from the situation.
Ivanka Trump appears to be trying to get involved in a talk among Macron, May, Trudeau and Lagarde (IMF head).
The video is released by French Presidential palace. pic.twitter.com/TJ0LULCzyQ
— Parham Ghobadi (@ParhamGhobadi) June 29, 2019
Now, Macron’s office has addressed the clip. According to Politico, the French did not expect the video to get the response it did when they released it to the public. The French presidential palace released a statement saying that they often release videos showcasing different moments at international summits.
A French official explained that the moment in the video “took place in the leaders’ lounge right before the sessions on gender equality of which Ivanka was one of the keynote speakers, so it wasn’t anything more than a moment of exchange like there were 100 more [of] with other leaders.”
However, the statement didn’t end there. The official went on to point out that Macron’s office recognizes that the video was released amidst “a larger narrative in the U.S. about Ivanka’s diplomatic role and that goes beyond us, of course.” While the statement didn’t go into more detail, it was clearly a reference to the outrage around Ivanka’s unearned presence. “We didn’t anticipate the reaction, and once again, we are not responsible for the use made of the clip,” the official added.
Any reasonable reading of this statement would conclude that the French are obliquely yet intentionally drawing attention to the furor over Ivanka’s behavior. Had they simply ignored the reaction to the video, the commentary would have died down on its own. By not only pointing it out but specifically bringing up the “larger narrative” the French have thrown gasoline on the fire. They seem to be subtly indicating that not only are they aware that many don’t think Ivanka belonged at the G20, but that they might even agree.
Once again, the Trumps have embarrassed the United States as only they can.