President Trump is sorry he advertised the LLBean brand. Mrs. Bean was a Trump supporter and campaign contributor. Donald knew that he wasn’t supposed to use his position as President to promote a business. But …gosh! It would be impolite to fail to say “thank you.”
The problems for President Trump didn’t stop with LLBean. He lashed out at the Nordstrom department store chain for dropping his daughter Ivanka’s accessories and clothing line. Imagine the gall of Nordstrom in diverting the attention of the President of the United States from pressing matters of international concern, by having to Tweet remarks about the decision of Nordstrom to discontinue carrying the products of his daughter. Nordstrom had the audacity to decide that the products of Ivanka Trump were not selling or profitable.
Trump has already broken with tradition by singling out companies for criticism, like Boeing, Lockheed Martin, automakers and news organizations, sometimes causing gyrations in their stock prices and prompting debates about whether corporations would tailor their conduct to suit a bellicose president.
The President of the United States took to Twitter to complain that “Ivanka has been treated so unfairly” by the company. He first posted the message from his personal account, and then re-sent it from his official White House account.
Nordstom has been openly critical of the President. It sent its employees a statement saying that it valued immigrants and offered support to those affected by the executive order. Imagine living in a democracy where it was death to your business to disagree with the person in power!!!!???
As if that wasn’t enough, the spokesperson for the President used a White House press briefing to promote Ivanka’s line of clothing.
Conway told the American people “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would say. It’s a wonderful line, I own some of it. I’m going to give a free commercial here, go buy it today.”
Larry Noble, the general counsel for the Campaign Legal Centre, a nonpartisan organisation based in Washington DC, immediately indicated that Conway had broken the law.
“Appears Kellayanne Conway may have just violated ban on Federal employee using public office for endorsement of product,” he tweeted.
Katherine DeCelles, a Harvard business professor who focuses on ethics, said no White House leader in modern history has used their platform to hawk products.
“It’s unprecedented,” she said, “for someone of his power voicing his support or being against particular companies
Federal law prohibits public employees from using their positions “for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”
The office of Representative Elijah Cummings, a Democrat and Jason Chaffetz, a Republican and chairman of the House Oversight Committee, are drafting a letter to the ethics committee to inquire about the appropriate penalty for Conway’s advertisement.
Cummings earlier called the plug “a textbook violation of government ethics laws and regulations enacted to prevent the abuse of an employee’s government position.” Chaffetz did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The really offensive thing is that Conways remarks were made after Trump has engaged in a series of promotions and attacks on products and companies. It wasn’t a situation where Conway was unaware of the potential ethics problem. It was an “in your face” moment, where she clearly determined that she was free to say whatever she wanted. While promoting the line she was talking about Trump policies, so the pitch for Ivanka’s clothing line was interspersed with political matters.