Perception is everything in politics. The President, his administration, and his family (but I repeat myself) either haven’t figured that out or simply don’t care. That’s what makes a photo of Ivanka Trump circulating the internet out of this week’s G-20 summit in Germany seem simply like colossal stupidity.
This is utterly bizarre, if true: Ivanka Trump sitting in on G20 working group in place of her dad. https://t.co/pM6IuAsGAI
— Glen McGregor (@glen_mcgregor) July 8, 2017
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) July 8, 2017
Now, apparently Ivanka didn’t say a word during her time between China’s President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Theresa May, but that’s not the point.
Americans on both sides of the aisle range from skeptic to downright hostile in their discomfort with the Kushners role in the White House and the Trump administration. It’s nepotism not only on display but in your face.
And the situation was 100 percent avoidable.
President Trump reportedly had to step away from the working group to attend bilateral talks. Fine. But there were other people in the room from the U.S. delegation that would have been far less controversial to fill Trump’s seat than his daughter.
An official Cabinet member, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, attended the Saturday meetings with the Trump’s. He would have been a far more acceptable and, honestly, yawn-inducing seat filler while the president was away.
Unless I am wrong, that’s Steve Mnuchin pic.twitter.com/uoyt3jEBTG
— Jay Caruso (@JayCaruso) July 8, 2017
So, again, while there may be nothing factually significant about Ivanka sitting in the chair reserved for the President of the United States — she didn’t say anything, after all, and Germany’s Angela Merkel came to Trump’s defense — but, there is palpable significance in the realm of perception.
And for anyone who thinks this is no big deal, check your outrage factor if it had been a scenario involving a Democrat:
If Chelsea had sat there the entire right-wing twittersphere (yourself excepted, perhaps) would have gone to DEFCON-1.
— Jeff B, fightin' the COVID one bootleg at a time (@EsotericCD) July 8, 2017
We can probably all agree there aren’t enough Laura Fillaults in the world, but that is the exceptional reaction, not the rule. And it’s not about what happened in the room but how it’s perceived across America and the world.
Ivanka sitting in for Trump makes it look once again like the President doesn’t take this all that seriously. He ought to remember the United States isn’t his company and this isn’t a Primetime reality show.