The recent inclusion of the first daughter on a panel of world leaders is a great indicator that Angela Merkel has adopted a diplomatic approach with the U.S. president. During her visit to the White House, the German Chancellor identified the first daughter as she back-channels to President Donald Trump.
Merkel invited Ivanka 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.
Since then, Ivanka Trump has been prepping for the meeting for weeks. She has immersed herself in McKinsey & Company reports on women in the workforce, rather than searching for soaring language with a speechwriter. The inclusion of Ivanka Trump on a panel of world leaders gives her the biggest international platform yet.
As revealed by Constanze Stelzenmuller, who is an expert on German policy and politics at the Brookings Institution in Washington, some Germans have expressed their skepticism over Ivanka’s role as they try to comprehend how the White House manages its official relationships.
President Trump heavily relies on his family members as top West Wing advisers. Stelzenmuller understands, it would, therefore, seem obvious that Mr. Trump would engage Ivanka Trump. However, Merkel is positive about the prospect of improving her cooperation with President Trump through her daughter Ivanka.
One of the senior fellows at The Washington Institute and a former deputy national security adviser and ambassador to Iraq under President Barack Obama, James Jeffrey, revealed that Merkel is working out how to approach an uncommon U.S. leader.
Jeffrey also pointed out that Merkel is as cunning as a fox, adding that she understands that the unconventional road to Mr. Trump is Ivanka. The current situation has left Merkel without much choice. This comes as Trump has not yet appointed an ambassador to Germany.
Merkel has given Ivanka Trump an opportunity to prove to skeptics at home and abroad that she is the serious, policy-minded, moderating political force she aims to project. The move is solely aimed at seeking to reach the president through his daughter, now a special assistant in the White House.
Ivanka Trump’s trip is an opportunity to ease fears among Europeans about the new U.S. administration. The first daughter will face a skeptical audience in Berlin, one that views the new presidency with fear and suspicion and is unsure of what to make of the first daughter. Ivanka Trump has been covered in the German press in the days leading up to her speech. The coverage was similar to that at home, where she was criticized on late night programs like Saturday Night Live for being complicit in her father’s agenda.
The German chancellor isn’t the first world leader to try and influence the president through the family member he has made clear is one of his most trusted advisers. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in March invited Ivanka Trump to attend the Broadway show Come From Away with him, a play whose central theme is about embracing foreigners.
Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s minister of foreign affairs, and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands have also reached out with requests for public events with Ivanka Trump. When Merkel came to Washington in March, she told Pence that she wanted to participate in a roundtable on apprenticeship, according to a person familiar with Merkel’s thinking and a White House official. Merkel hoped to discuss how American and German private sector companies could better train workers.
Merkel’s intent was to engage the first daughter, who has expressed in working with CEOs to improve conditions for women in the workforce. Based on the fact that appealing to Ivanka Trump was an easier target for Merkel as compared to the president's top political adviser, Steve Bannon.
During her visit to Berlin, Ivanka Trump plans to stick to the basics by highlighting the role of women in the global economy and discussing the importance of access to capital for female entrepreneurs. Ivanka has studied the issue long before the campaign. She has also focused on the issue since moving to Washington.
Ivanka Trump will also be scheduled to tour manufacturing company Siemens and visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, Berlin’s Holocaust memorial. Three White House aides will accompany Ivanka, they’ll include; Dina Powell, the deputy national security adviser and senior economic counselor; communications adviser Hope Hicks; and her new chief of staff, Julie Radford.