Ivanka and Donald Trump in Aston, Pa. where they outlined Trump's proposal on childcare on Sept. 13, 2016.
Photo by Mark Peterson/Redux for MSNBC

Ivanka Trump’s influence reaches unprecedented heights

The Women20 summit got underway this morning in Berlin, and the guest list featured some extraordinarily accomplished individuals. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hosting the event, appearing alongside speakers such as International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, among others.

It was therefore a bit jarring to see Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump’s 35-year-old daughter, on hand for the event.
Ivanka Trump was in Germany on Tuesday on her first international trip as a member of her father’s presidential team. In doing so, the billionaire’s daughter stepped into a land that prides itself on meritocracy. […]

While Ivanka Trump was in Berlin to promote women, the president himself was front and center during a panel discussion at the summit. The first daughter defended Donald Trump after a handful of attendees booed and groaned when she mentioned his name, saying he had encouraged “thousands” of women who worked for him.
It’s worth noting that Merkel invited Ivanka Trump to participate in today’s gathering.

There’s been a fair amount of scrutiny in recent months over Donald Trump giving his 36-year-old son-in-law, Jared Kushner, an almost comically expansive policy portfolio, despite Kushner having no experience in government or public service. But Ivanka Trump’s role in her father’s administration is quickly reaching  comparable levels, despite her own lack of relevant background.

Yesterday, for example, Ivanka Trump had a piece in the Financial Times on women in the developing world – an important topic the president’s daughter has no background in. A few hours later, Donald Trump was in the Oval Office, speaking to the International Space Station, with Ivanka Trump at his side.

She’s the first presidential daughter (or son) to have an office in the West Wing. She’s one of the few presidential advisers to have her own chief of staff. She’s offering the president guidance on matters of national security. She’s meeting with world leaders – while the business she still owns expands its opportunities in those leaders’ countries.

If Ivanka Trump had experience as a senator or a cabinet secretary, this would be a little easier to explain, but again, she has no background in government, politics, or international affairs.

And now she’s in Berlin, defending her father’s record on women – despite Donald Trump’s scandalous record on women.

The political world is overdue for a real conversation about this. There are nepotism laws to consider, as well as ethical conflicts that deserve scrutiny. As her power grows, Bloomberg Politics recently reported that Ivanka Trump “doesn’t plan to divest from her brand of clothing and accessories as part of her compliance with ethics standards.”

Some “this is not normal” moments are even more striking than others.