Boo, hiss: Ivanka Trump heckled for defending president as ‘empowerer of women’
Trump was in Berlin to participate in a panel discussion on women's empowerment and entrepreneurship at the W20, a a women-focused summit within the Group of 20 (G20) countries. It was her first trip abroad since she was named to her new role as assistant to her father, US President Donald Trump, at the end of March.
The audience booed and hissed at her when she defended her father’s attitudes towards women during a discussion on paid leave.
"That is something I'm very proud of my father's advocacy, long before he came into the presidency, he championed this in the primaries. He's been a tremendous champion of supporting families and enabling them to thrive," Trump said before the heckling began.
Miriam Meckel, editor of the German magazine Wirtschaftswoche, asked the first daughter to address the audience’s vocal disapproval.
“You hear the reaction from the audience,” Meckel said. “I need to address one more point ‒ some attitudes toward women your father has displayed might leave one questioning whether he’s such an empowerer for women.”
The president faced fierce backlash during the 2016 campaign when audio of him making derogatory remarks about women was leaked to the press. At least a dozen women have since accused him of sexual assault.
"I've certainly heard the criticism from the media and that's been perpetuated, but I know from personal experience, and I think the thousands of women who have worked with and for my father for decades when he was in the private sector are a testament to his belief and solid conviction in the potential of women and their ability to do the job as well as any man," Trump replied.
Trump participate in the event at the “direct invitation” of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who moderated the panel, the White House said. The two women had previously met in Washington, DC during a meeting on vocational training at the White House. Merkel’s seeming reaction to Trump’s presence at that event created a stir on social media.
Merkel: Why is a Handbag Designer at this Meeting? pic.twitter.com/ty2dIRcTSC— Fiona Adorno (@FionaAdorno) March 17, 2017
Merkel made similar faces on Tuesday.
When asked about the crowd’s reaction after the event, Trump shrugged it off, telling reporters: “Politics is politics.”
"I'm used to it, it's fine," she said. "I think, you know, for me and I sort of said it at the end, I think what's so important is we have to be able to engage in dialog with one another and we have to be able to have different viewpoints and feel comfortable candidly expressing ourselves without fear of being labeled and ostracized. And I think that's how progress is made."
The panel also included former banker Queen Màxima of the Netherlands and International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde among its eight participants