‘Go buy Ivanka’s stuff,’ a top White House adviser urged American shoppers on Friday, a day after President Donald Trump sharply criticised a department store for dropping his daughter’s clothing line.
“I hate shopping,” Kellyanne Conway told the Fox network in a televised interview, with the White House seal clearly visible over her left shoulder. But “I’m going to go get some myself today.”
“This is just a wonderful line,” she added. “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.”
To Washington traditionalists, Conway’s direct pitch from the White House for a product line sold by the president’s child seemed a jaw-dropping use of presidential prestige.
But she was clearly channeling the anger expressed a day earlier by the president himself, when he tweeted that Ivanka had been “treated so unfairly” by Nordstrom, the upscale department store chain that dropped her line. “Terrible,” he added.
The message from the White House again fanned debate over the unprecedented level to which the new president—despite his protestations to the contrary—has mixed politics, business and family, raising questions about conflicts of interest.
After Trump’s tweet, shares in Nordstrom briefly dropped, but by the end of the day they had more than made up their losses.
Since his election in November, Trump has targeted a series of American multinationals by name (General Motors, Ford, Boeing, Lockheed and others) for moving production overseas or for allegedly overcharging the government.
But this was the first time he had complained directly about the business interests of one of his adult children.
The Nordstrom group, with 350 stores in the United States and Canada, has repeatedly denied any political motive to its dropping of Ivanka Trump’s clothing line, saying it was motivated purely by “performance” considerations. Sales had fallen, particularly in last year’s second half.
But products carrying a Trump brand, including Ivanka’s, have been boycotted by critics of the new president, leading to his complaint of a political motivation behind Nordstrom’s move.