The White House distanced itself from senior adviser Kellyanne Conway’s alleged violation of federal ethics law when she promoted Ivanka Trump’s line of products on live TV, suggesting that she had been admonished for the flap.
While speaking with Fox News, Ms Conway spoke about Nordstrom department store’s decision to stop selling Ivanka Trump-branded products.
President Donald Trump rebuked the business decision by the retailer – 20 minutes into a national security briefing, according to the White House schedule – and said his daughter was being treated “unfairly”.
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you,” Ms Conway said, after saying that Ms Trump was a high profile target in the Trump administration. “I hate shopping, and I’m going to get some myself, today.”
Under federal law, it is illegal to use public office for private gain, as well as “for the endorsement of any product, service, or enterprise” and for the “private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity”.
During the daily press briefing on Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters that, “She has been counselled on that subject and that’s it.”
The White House did not criticise the media nor did they attempt to defend the comments, demonstrating a break in form for this administration, that has used Mr Spicer to defend many of the untrue statements issued by the President and Ms Conway.
The administration had previously gone so far as to craft a list of terrorist attacks they said were not covered by the press following Ms Conway’s insistence of the fictitious “Bowling Green massacre”. Mr Trump later incorrectly added that attacks such as those in Nice and Paris had been intentionally ignored by reporters.
Even Republican House Oversight Committee chair, Rep Jason Chaffetz, said Ms Conway’s remarks were “clearly over the line, unacceptable”.
Of course, Mr Chaffetz, who has vowed to continue investigating former Secretary of State for alleged corruption that top law enforcement officials say does not exist, he will likely not investigate the new administration for their clear conflicts of interest or violation of the foreign emoluments clause.
The President faces significant scrutiny for his ties to the Trump Organisation, which he claimed to have broken away from upon taking office.
Reports early this week showed that Mr Trump is still closely tied to his business, a clear violation of conflict of interest laws.
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