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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.