Secretary of State Rex Tillerson isn’t sending a top delegation to accompany Ivanka Trump to a business summit in India because he doesn’t want to promote her on the world stage, a State Department source has told CNN.
In her highest-profile international event yet, the first daughter is attending the three-day Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, sponsored by the State Department and India, next week. A theme of the summit is female economic empowerment.
A senior State Department source told CNN that “no one higher than the deputy assistant secretary is allowed to participate” in the India trip. Tillerson’s staff “won’t send someone senior because they don’t want to bolster Ivanka,” the source said.
Tillerson has a history of tension with the White House, and this could be the newest chapter. Donald Trump has appeared to contradict his secretary of state a number of times. The president threatened to “destroy” North Korea in a speech before the United Nations, for example, while Tillerson was counseling diplomacy. Trump said Tillerson was “wasting his time” on North Korea.
Tillerson also reportedly called Trump a “moron” after a summer meeting at the Pentagon with members of Trump’s national security team and Cabinet officials, according to NBC. Tillerson never specifically denied he used the word. Instead, he said at a press conference: “I’m not going to deal with petty stuff like that.”
Ivanka Trump’s participation in the summit is already controversial. Hyderabad has forcibly removed thousands of beggars from the streets, and even jailed many, ahead of her visit. In the U.S., critics also question her credentials as a promoter of women in business. While her father touts “made in America” products, her own fashions are manufactured exclusively in overseas factories paying low wages, The Washington Post has reported. A Post investigation also found that her company “lags behind many in the apparel industry in monitoring the treatment of the largely female workforce.”
Last year’s summit in Silicon Valley included Secretary of State John Kerry. President Obama attended with a top delegation in Kenya in 2015.