Donald Trump’s White House appears unconcerned by conflict of interests after senior aide, Kellyanne Conway, urged Americans to support the President’s daughter’s fashion line.
On Fox News, Conway slipped into infomercial mode when defending Ivanka Trump as “an incredibly creative, talented woman”, and imploring viewers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff”.
The “free commercial” followed the Nordstrom chain revealing it was to stop selling Trump’s oldest daughter’s merchandise, a move which prompted the President to tweet she “has been treated so unfairly”.
His tweet was soon retweeted by the official White House Twitter account, raising ethical concerns about Trump’s presidency and his family’s businesses.
Later in the day, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said: “Kellyanne has been counseled, and that’s all we’re going to go on.”
He did not elaborate what he meant by this.
On Fox, Conway said:
“I do find it ironic that you have got some executives all over the internet bragging about what they have done to her and her line, and yet, they are using the most prominent woman in Donald Trump’s, you know, most prominent his daughter, using her, who has been a champion for women empowerment of women in the workplace, to get to him.
“I think people could see through that. Go buy Ivanka’s stuff! I hate shopping, and I will go get some myself today.
“It is just a wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully, I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
Many pointed out Conway may have violated a rule stating that federal officials cannot use public office to sell products.
“An employee shall not use or permit the use of his Government position or title or any authority associated with his public office to endorse any product, service or enterprise,” the law states.
The Trump administration has refused to address the numerous conflicts of interest that suggest the president and his family could profit from his position.
Among his global interests are a series of golf courses in the UK and Ireland, and Trump reportedly spent time during his infamous Trump Tower meeting with Nigel Farage urging the ex-Ukip leader to continue to rail against wind farms - which he has opposed off the coast of Scotland for spoiling the view of one of his properties.
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer ducked questions about the ethics of Trump’s statement, claiming it was justified because Nordstrom’s decision to pull Ivanka Trump’s merchandise was “a direct attack on his policies in her name” and that the president “has every right to stand up for his family”.
Nordstrom has said that the decision to drop the fashion line was related to low sales, not in protest of the Trump administration’s policies.