Retailers don’t care who Ivanka’s daddy is, they’re not carrying her junk.
The Short Version
Retailers including Nordstrom and T.J. Maxx have dumped Ivanka Trump’s fashion line, saying that the products were cheaply made and not selling well. Ivanka’s daddy, who just happens to be president of the United States, tweeted his anger toward Nordstrom yesterday. Not only did the tweets not have the desired effect, it once again draws attention to the ethics issues raised by the president’s business holdings.
A Little Background
Fashion retail is a challenging market, as we’ve discussed several times before. Several once-popular chains have gone completely under. So, it makes sense that a store would stop selling anything that doesn’t sell well. Back in January, department store Nordstrom, as well as T.J. Maxx and Marshall’s, announced that they were dropping the entire Ivanka Trump line because they didn’t sell well last year. Any sane business person would have done the same thing.
Unfortunately, it is an insane businessman we have elected as president.
What The President Said
Yesterday, almost a month after Nordstrom and other retailers dumped his daughter’s label, the president issued this tweet:
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
Typically, that would be bad news for Nordstrom. Other times the president has tweeted about a company, their stock took a dive. Not this time.
That’s right, the company’s stock value went UP after the president’s tweet. Could it be that the great orange one holds no sway over fashion? That would certainly seem to be the case.
The Washington Post quotes Indiana University retail merchandising professor Mary Embry on the matter:
“Politics certainly do matter in fashion,” she said, “but the strength of the Nordstrom stock validates the strength of the decision making of that retailer that is based on absolutely knowing its customer.”
Also, she said: “The president is not seen as having any particular expertise on fashion.”
The loss of influence may not be the only consequence of the president’s actions. While the tweet was initially issued from the president’s personal account, it was later re-tweeted from the official @POTUS account. That would appear to be a serious ethics violation, using his position as president to influence a business on his daughter’s behalf. That is a very big no-no in both business and political circles.
Kathleen Clark, a law professor at Washington University in St. Louis, told the Associated Press: “The implicit threat was that he will use whatever authority he has to retaliate against Nordstrom, or anyone who crosses his interest.”
Ethicists all over the country have been weighing in on social media and while some defend the president’s use of his private account to defend his daughter, there is very little question that retweeting the message on the president’s official account is definitely crossing a line.
This adds to a growing list of ethics concern that could eventually end up as part of a Congressional investigation, though the president and Congressional leadership are doing everything they can to prevent that from happening. However, Congress cannot stop the growing number of lawsuits against the president for breaching ethics issues. Already, the president is facing multiple lawsuits over his failure to fully divest his business holdings as other presidents have done. Most damaging may be a lawsuit that claims the president has violated the Emoluments clause of the Constitution. Should the courts ultimately decide against the president, then Congress would be compelled to take action against him.
For all the reasons for opposing the President, ethics is the one over which he has total control. He doesn’t have to tweet at all. He doesn’t have to comment. He chooses what, when, and where he is going to speak. The entire ethics argument could go away overnight were the president to simply keep his hands in his pockets and be more presidential in what he says. Unfortunately, this president seems to be incapable of either of those things.
Over at T.J. Maxx, employees have been instructed to remove all Ivanka Trump merchandise from their shelves and place the branded signs in the trash.
If only it were so easy to remove the president.