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Ivanka Takes Father's Spot At G20, Stirs Controversy

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Ivanka Trump sat in for her father, U.S. President Donald Trump, during a meeting with world leaders at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, causing sharp reaction from the president's critics.

Ivanka sat in for her father during a meeting July 8 while Mr. Trump was meeting with the president of Indonesia, according to USA Today. Ivanka, who is an official member of the Trump administration, took her seat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping, British Prime Minister Theresa May, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Mr. Trump took to Twitter July 10 to express his support for Ivanka and her decision to sit in for him, as well as taking shots at another would-be first family and how the media would have reacted had it been former President Bill Clinton or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton..

"When I left [the] Conference Room for short meetings with Japan and other countries, I asked Ivanka to hold seat," Mr. Trump tweeted in the early morning hours of July 10. "Very standard. Angela M agrees!"

He also continued the thread with another tweet, this one aimed at Chelsea Clinton and mother Hillary, according to CNN.

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"If Chelsea Clinton were asked to hold the seat for her mother, as her mother gave our country away, the Fake News would say CHELSEA FOR PRES!" Mr. Trump wrote.

Chelsea quickly fired back with a tweet of her own, specifically questioning the president's use of the phrase "gave our country away."

"Good morning Mr. President," Chelsea responded. "It would never have occurred to my mother or my father to ask me. Were you giving our country away? Hoping not."

While several political commentators offered that the situation seemed strange, Merkel came to Ivanka's defense.

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"Ivanka Trump was part of the American delegation, so that is something that other delegations also do, and it is very well known that she works in the White House and that she is also engaged in certain initiatives," Merkel explained.

Pundits stated that it is uncommon for a relative of a sitting president to fill in during meetings with world leaders.

This is strange," tweeted Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia under former President Barack Obama. "Very strange."

Political commentator Brian Fallon also surmised that had the tables been turned, the Clintons would have faced sharp partisan opposition.

"I'm sure Republicans would have taken it in stride if Chelsea Clinton was deputized to perform head of state duties," Fallon wrote.

The G20 summit concluded July 8.

Sources: CNN, USA Today / Photo credit: Reuters via Business Insider, Getty Images via BBC, Michael Vadon/Flickr

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