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At G-20 gathering, Ivanka Trump literally had a seat at the table

Donald Trump believes it was "very standard" to have his daughter take his place at G-20 session. Reality tells a very different story.
Image: G20 Summit in Hamburg
The daughter and personal adviser of US President Donald J. Trump (R), Ivanka Trump (L) takes part in the plenary session of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, 08 July 2017. 

There were several memorable moments from the G-20 meeting in Germany, but Bloomberg Politics flagged one of the more jarring.

Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka, took his seat at a Group of 20 meeting table in Hamburg, sitting in for the president when he stepped away for one-on-one discussions with other world leaders.A photo on Twitter showed Ivanka Trump, 35, sitting in her father's seat between Chinese President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Theresa May. Also seated nearby were German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkey's President Recip Tayyip Erdogan.One official who was watching the session said Ivanka Trump had taken her father's place at the table on at least two occasions on Saturday, but didn't speak.

The president himself described this as "very standard." Veteran diplomats drew the opposite conclusion: former NATO ambassador Nicholas Burns, who served as a diplomat under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, told the Washington Post the incident with Ivanka Trump was a breach of protocols for such summits.

Having the U.S. secretary of state take the president's place at the table would be normal; having the president's inexperienced daughter take his place was not.

But in the broader context, one of the striking aspects of the president's daughter taking on such a role is how unsurprising it is.

Circling back to our coverage from April, Ivanka Trump is 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 let's not forget that she has no background in government, politics, or international affairs.

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.