President Donald Trump’s top White House counselor on Thursday asked Americans to buy Ivanka Trump’s fashion line, potentially violating federal government ethics rules.
Appearing on “Fox & Friends,” Kellyanne Conway dismissed Nordstrom’s decision to drop Ivanka Trump’s line. She also claimed that the president’s daughter was the victim of mockery online from retail executives, though it wasn’t clear whom she was referring to.
“I do find it ironic that you have some executives all over the internet bragging about what they have done to her and her line, and yet they’re using the most prominent woman — she’s his daughter — who has been a champion for women empowerment, women in the workplace to get to him,” Conway said.
She added: “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would say. I hate shopping — I’m going to buy stuff today.”
Observers quickly pointed out that Conway’s suggestion may violate federal ethics rules that bar White House officials from promoting products for individuals “whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”
The Trump family’s tangle of global business interests has raised concern among ethics watchdogs for months.
In January, the head of the Office of Government Ethics, a top government watchdog, dubbed Trump’s attempts to separate himself from his business interests “wholly inadequate.”
“The plans that the president has announced doesn’t meet the standards that the best of his nominees are meeting, that every president in the past four decades has met,” Walter Shaub said in January at the Brookings Institute in Washington, DC.
He continued: “Stepping back from running his positions is meaningless from a conflicts of interest perspective. The presidency is a full time job, and he would have had to step back anyway. The idea of setting up a trust to hold his operating business adds nothing to the equation. This is not a blind trust, it’s not even close.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Appears Kellayanne Conway may have just violated ban on Federal employee using public office for endorsement of product. 5 CFR 2635.702 https://t.co/mIvngSHCnk
— Larry Noble (@LarryNoble_DC) February 9, 2017