Donald Trump lashed out at Nordstrom Inc. after the retailer dropped his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line, fueling a new controversy surrounding the new US president and his family business interests.
“My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom,” Trump wrote on Twitter Wednesday. “She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”.
The message, which was posted on both his personal and official presidential Twitter accounts, raised fresh questions about presidential ethics and conflicts of interest, media reports noted.
Critics said it is highly improper for Trump to use a White House platform to intervene in a commercial matter involving his daughter.
“This is misuse of public office for private gains,” Richard Painter, who served as Republican President George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer, said in an email to Reuters.
“And it is abuse of power because the official message is clear – Nordstrom is persona non grata with the administration.”
Nordstrom’s became the target of Trump’s ire after the department store chain announced that it will stop selling Ivanka Trump products due to declining sales of the brand.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer characterized the retailer’s move as a “direct attack” on the president’s policies.
“For someone to take out their concern with his policies on a family member of his is just not acceptable. And the president has every right as a father to stand up to them,” Spicer said in a White House briefing.
Trump, who became US president on Jan. 20, has declined to sell off his businesses despite demands from critics that he do so to avoid thorny conflicts of interest.
Ivanka Trump ran a clothing and jewelry business bearing her name, in addition to other work for the Trump Organization, before saying she would resign when her father was sworn in as president.
Her father’s various contentious actions and comments have prompted boycott efforts by critics and have driven some consumers away from Trump family businesses, Reuters noted.
Democrats pounced on Trump for the tweet.
“I think it’s inappropriate, but he’s a totally inappropriate president, so it’s totally in keeping with who he is,” said Nancy Pelosi, the top US House of Representatives Democrat.
Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat, in a tweet indicated the matter should be referred to the federal Office of Government Ethics.
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