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Wednesday 13 December 2017

Dinner with Putin and a President's stand in: How Melania and Ivanka Trump saved the day at the G20

Ivanka Trump (left) and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde attend the launch of the World Bank's Women's Entrepreneurship Facility Initiative on the margins of the G20 summit in Hamburg Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
Ivanka Trump (left) and International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde attend the launch of the World Bank's Women's Entrepreneurship Facility Initiative on the margins of the G20 summit in Hamburg Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
President Donald Trump talks with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during the Women's Entrepreneurship Finance event at the G20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
From left: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, World Bank Group president, Jim Yong Kim, U.S. president Donald Trump, his daughter Ivanka, German chancellor Angela Merkel and Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (Michael Kappeler/Pool Photo via AP)
Ivanka Trump attends the launch of the World Bank's Women's Entrepreneurship Facility Initiative on the margins of the G20 summit in Hamburg Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump stands alongside other spouses during a G-20 leaders spouses event at the town hall during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Axel Schmidt/Pool Photo via AP)

Gordon Rayner

On a day that the G20 hosted a Women’s Empowerment working lunch, President Donald Trump went the extra mile to make sure he empowered the women in his own family.

Months after appointing his daughter Ivanka as one of his official advisers, Mr Trump sent the former model to stand in for him at a G20 leaders’ meeting.

It came hours after his wife Melania charmed President Vladimir Putin at an official dinner, having already been sent into a meeting between her husband and the Russian premier as a messenger by the US delegation.

 This morning Ivanka, 36, took up the seat reserved for the President during the third working session of the G20 leaders while Mr Trump attended separate meetings elsewhere at the summit.

G20 leaders often send proxies to working sessions while they hold bilateral meetings with other leaders, but it is thought to be the first time a leader’s daughter has fulfilled such a role.

The President’s wife Melania has also been called upon by the US delegation, after it emerged she was sent in to Mr Trump’s lengthy one-on-one meeting with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin to try to wind up their conversation.

U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, center, talks to Canadian Prime Minister's wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, right, during a spouses program of the G-20 summit at the town hall in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Axel Schmidt/Pool Photo via AP)
U.S. First Lady Melania Trump, center, talks to Canadian Prime Minister's wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau, right, during a spouses program of the G-20 summit at the town hall in Hamburg, Germany, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (Axel Schmidt/Pool Photo via AP)
Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US President Donald Trump (all centre, at rear) at the launch of the World Bank's Women's Entrepreneurship Facility Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
President Donald Trump meets Japanese Shinzo Abe at the G20 Summit, Saturday, July 8, 2017, in Hamburg, Germany. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the G20 Summit, Saturday, July 8, 2017, in Hamburg, Germany. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Mr Trump spent 2hrs 16mins with President Putin on Friday, and Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, disclosed that presidential aides became exasperated that the President was allowing it to overrun for so long. Slots of 30 minutes are usually allotted for each bilateral meeting.

Read more: Five things you need to know about the G20 summit

Mr Tillerson said: “They even sent in the First Lady at one point to see if she could get us out of there, and that didn't work either … We went another hour after.”

At the dinner that followed, Mrs Trump was seated next to Mr Putin, and appeared to be getting on well as they smiled during their conversations.

Mr Trump, meanwhile, was sitting next to Argentina’s First Lady Juliana Awada, voted the most elegant first lady in the world by Hola! magazine last year.

At a concert before the dinner the Trumps sat next to the French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte.

Mr Trump has faced criticism in the US for giving his family too much power in his administration - Ivanka’s husband Jared Kushner - who is also at the G20 - was appointed as one of his chief advisers when Mr Trump took office in January, and he promoted his daughter to her current official role in March.

A White House spokesman said: "Ivanka was sitting in the back and then briefly joined the main table when the President had to step out."

President Trump also supported his daughter by joining a women’s entrepreneurial finance event, a project spearheaded by her.

Ivanka Trump and the World Bank rolled out a new fund that aims to help female entrepreneurs access capital, financing and other support. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative fund had so far raised $325 million from various governments.

Mr Trump applauded his daughter’s efforts to help female entrepreneurs, joking that “if she weren’t my daughter, it would be so much easier for her".

Telegraph.co.uk

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