Sunday 21 January 2018

Ivanka Trump attends Broadway event which celebrates giving 'foreigners a warm welcome'

Ivanka Trump greets patrons before the start of the Broadway debut of the musical
Ivanka Trump greets patrons before the start of the Broadway debut of the musical "Come From Away" Credit: PA

Chris Graham

Ivanka Trump has joined Justin Trudeau in attending a Broadway show that celebrates giving foreigners a warm welcome.

The president's daughter and the Canadian prime minister, who sat next to each other during the play, were part of a political power-crowd at the new musical “Come From Away” on Wednesday night.

Celebrating Canadian compassion following 9/11, the story is set in the small Newfoundland town of Gander, which saw its population double after it took in thousands of passengers and crew from dozens of planes diverted when US air space was closed following the terror attacks. One recurring theme involves prejudice against Muslims.

“The world gets to see what it is to lean on each other and be there for each other through the darkest times,” Mr Trudeau, who was with his wife Sophie, said as he introduced the play at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.

He also hailed the friendship of the two countries. “There is no relationship quite like the friendship between Canada and the United States ... Our friends are there for those tough times,” he added.

While the Canadian prime minister has opened his country's borders to 40,000 refugees, Ms Trump's father is cracking down on immigration.

The appearance of the first daughter and Mr Trudeau at the play coincided with a Hawaii judge blocking Donald Trump's efforts to freeze immigration by refugees and citizens of some predominantly Muslim nations.

The timing would not have been lost on the audience, which included about 120 ambassadors from around the world, including Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the United Nations.

Ms Trump and Mr Trudeau arrived at the New York theatre in the same motorcade but in different vehicles.

It was the second event they had attended together in recent weeks.

Last month, the pair took part in a roundtable discussion about women in the workforce, where photos of the first daughter's  expression as she looked at the Canadian leader sent social media into a frenzy.

Trevor Noah, host of the The Daily Show, commented at the time: "She looks like she’s ready to risk it all. She looks like she’s considering dressing up as a Syrian refugee just so Canada will take her in, like, ‘Let me in, Justin!'"

Security at the theatere was intense on Wednesday night and theatregoers had to navigate through frozen snow drifts as well as black SUVs. But Mr Trudeau seemed comfortable on the stage.

"I have to sort of personally say, on behalf of all Canadians, thank you for making us so welcome with the snow," he said. "It's a nice touch. You really went out of your way."

Mr Trudeau's warm reception at the theatre was in contrast to the ones that greeted two other world leaders who recently attended the Broadway smash "Hamilton" - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Vice President-elect Mike Pence. Both received more than a smattering of boos.

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