Columns

White House Defends Trump Attack on Nordstrom for Discontinuing Ivanka's Line

Ivanka Trump arrives at Trump Tower in New York on Nov. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON — President Trump today attacked a department store for discontinuing his daughter’s clothing and accessories line, prompting some to accuse him of an ethics violation as the White House said there’s been “a targeting of her brand.”

Nordstrom says it cuts about 10 percent of brands per year, based on performance, to rotate fresh labels into the store. Last week, the retail chain said Ivanka Trump’s line would be among those discontinued. “Based on the brand’s performance, we’ve decided not to buy it for this season,” the company said in a statement.

Trump lashed out at the company in a tweet today:

Nordstrom shares dipped after the president’s tweet, but recovered and ended 4 points higher by the end of the day’s trading.

All stores and websites that sell Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump products have been targeted for boycott by the Grab Your Wallet campaign.

The New York Times reported that the parent company of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls directed the discount retailers to take down any branding signs and featured displays for Ivanka Trump’s line. “The communication was intended to instruct stores to mix this line of merchandise into our racks, not to remove it from the sales floor,” a TJX spokeswoman told the paper. “We offer a rapidly changing selection of merchandise for our customers, and brands are featured based on a number of factors.”

Neiman Marcus has also dropped the Ivanka Trump line.

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) copied Trump’s tweet and tweeted “cc: @OfficeGovEthics” to the executive branch’s conflicts of interest watchdog.

Richard Painter, who was President George W. Bush’s chief ethics lawyer, told Reuters that the Trump tweet was “misuse of public office for private gains.”

“And it is abuse of power because the official message is clear – Nordstrom is persona non grata with the administration,” Painter said.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the president at today’s briefing, saying “there’s clearly a targeting of her brand and it’s her name still out there.”

“So she’s not directly running the company, it’s still her name on it. And there’s clearly efforts that — to undermine that name based on her father’s positions on particular policies that he’s taken,” Spicer said. “This is a direct attack on his policies and her name.”

“And so that — there’s clearly an attempt for him to stand up for her because she is being maligned because they have a problem with his policies.”