WASHINGTON – Ivanka Trump began her week at the United Nations with a diplomatic apology.
“On behalf of the United States government, I apologize to all visitors and New Yorkers for the traffic,” she told a group of thought leaders at the Concordia Annual Summit Monday morning.
Trump was in New York to promote her Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) initiative and to practice diplomacy on the world stage, a role she’s embraced with mixed reviews, hamstrung by her father’s mercurial tendencies and policies that are sometimes at odds with her objectives.
Trump formally unveiled the initiative — part of her neatly tailored West Wing portfolio — earlier this year and has since traveled to Africa and South America to promote it. Its aim, she told reporters before the President signed a memorandum launching the initiative in February, is to “coordinate efforts across federal agencies” to empower women in developing countries through three pillars: education, entrepreneurship and eliminating legal, regulatory and cultural barriers to women’s economic participation.
On Monday, Trump outlined the initiative’s three pillars, explained the five areas of law impacting women in global economies, and touted some early successes advancing women’s rights in Cote d’Ivoire, where she visited in April. She spoke in platitudes, using the phrases “delivering solutions,” “collaborate toward shared goals” and “advance the ball” all in one sentence.
“We’re leveraging our collective efforts through this initiative to change in countries where there’s not a level playing field,” she said, calling the women she’s met through her work, including an Argentinian baker who received assistance to purchase baking equipment for an at-home business, “inspiring.”
“I hope that on these visits I also generate goodwill for the United States that supports these programs, but really, the effect is on all of us who work hard every day because we believe in this mission,” she said.
President Donald Trump recognized her work multiple times during his remarks before world leaders at the UN, thanking her directly during a speech on religious freedom Monday and referencing W-GDP during his address to the General Assembly Tuesday.
“We are also championing the role of women in our societies. Nations that empower women are much wealthier, safer, and much more politically stable,” the President had said, calling it “vital” to national security to “pursue women’s economic development.”
Ivanka Trump also reflected Monday on what she’s learned during her time in government: “You need to coalition-build and ensure that there is agreement in terms of the parameters, that all the stakeholders, whether they be legislative, or administrative, or NGO, is excited about the mission and the goal.”
That coalition-building has been key to Trump’s time as a White House official. Trump has built bipartisan relationships and navigated the difficult terrain of Capitol Hill on the topics of tax reform and the child tax credit, as well as paid family leave. She’s also built rapport abroad with key leaders, appearing in a high-visibility role alongside her father as he made a historic trip to the Demilitarized Zone of North Korea in June and attending multiple bilateral meetings at the G20 in Osaka.
In New York this week, Trump has been present for the President’s key speeches. She also held “brief pull asides” of her own during the United Nations General Assembly, according to a White House official, who declined to elaborate on whom she met.
She’s no stranger to the annual confab. Trump previously addressed a group at the UN during the 2017 general assembly on combating human trafficking as a guest of then-British Prime Minister Theresa May, and also attended multiple private meetings with world leaders, including the foreign ministers of Australia and India. In 2018, she also attended the Concordia Summit, where she discussed workforce development and previewed the creation of W-GDP for the first time. She also sat in on a bilateral meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.
Back at the White House later in the week as impeachment strategy intensified, Ivanka Trump was focused elsewhere.
“The road to my heart is paved with pawprints,” she tweeted Friday evening, alongside a photo holding two pups.