Ivanka Trump raises eyebrows after being photographed at the same table as G-20 leaders at summit

Key Points
  • The president's daughter was spotted seated with top world leaders during a discussion led by the World Bank.
  • Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are frequent targets of critics questioning their roles as White House advisors and relatives of the president.
Ivanka Trump (L) and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin look on as U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for the morning working session on the second day of the G20 economic summit on July 8, 2017 in Hamburg, Germany.
Sean Gallup | Getty Images

Ivanka Trump, President Donald Trump's eldest daughter, caused a stir on Saturday after she was photographed alongside world leaders during a discussion at the Group of 20 summit.

The president's daughter, who also functions as one of his key advisors, was apparently deputized to take Trump's place after he departed the room for a brief period. At the time, the head of the World Bank was discussing a new women's entrepreneurship fund Ivanka Trump had spearheaded, a White House official told The Associated Press.

2nd day of #G20 Hamburg summit starts with Africa, Migration & Health. Ivanka accompanies Pres Trump

Trump's 35-year old daughter is married to Jared Kushner, one of his top lieutenants, and is an accomplished businesswoman in her own right. Meanwhile, it's not unusual for presidents to use advisors or officials as stand-ins at key meetings—especially at a major summit like the G-20, where meetings and bilateral sessions overlap one another.

Sec. Rex Tillerson: Putin denied hacking of US election in Trump meeting

Yet the move triggered an immediate uproar, with observers lambasting the idea that an unelected advisor and relative could sit shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

'Last time I checked, Ivanka isn't our President and isn't a diplomat.Why is she taking his place in this meeting?'

A photograph of the moment, which was captured by a Russian official and posted to Twitter before being deleted, ricocheted across social media. It amplified some concerns about Kushner and Ivanka Trump's conflicting roles as presidential relatives and advisors.

'Telling that pic of Ivanka at G-20 table was posted by Russian staff. Russians knew would: 1. be deemed controversial; 2. get us going in US'

Remember right before the election, when Ivanka said she wouldn't take any role in her father's administration?

Ivanka's brother, Donald J. Trump Jr., sprang to her defense. Sparring with Ana Navarro, a Republican pundit who is a relentless Trump critic, the president's son called his sister "very smart and eloquent," while hitting Navarro for her criticism.

'She is VERY smart & eloquent. You can belittle her all you want w your snark, but we all know 1 on 1 she way out of your league.'

With respect to Trump's biggest policy challenges, his elder daughter has mostly avoided the spotlight. Still, Ivanka Trump has weighed in on topics of personal interest, such as the women's empowerment initiative in which she's played a crucial role. On Saturday, Trump said that it might be easier for her if they weren't related.

At the summit, the president lavished praise on Ivanka, with NBC News reporting that "if she weren't my daughter it would be so much easier for her. I might be the only bad thing she has going."

In a highly anticipated meeting on Friday fraught with geopolitical tension, Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin came face-to-face in a bilateral session. The two leaders exchanged pleasantries, while their aides verbally jousted about Russia's suspected role in meddling in the U.S. general election, with questions and inquiries swirling in Washington.

--The Associated Press contributed to this article.