President slams retailer for dropping daughter's brand

The entrance to a Nordstrom store is seen on Feb 8, 2017, in Miami, Florida.
The entrance to a Nordstrom store is seen on Feb 8, 2017, in Miami, Florida.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO • US President Donald Trump blasted department store chain Nordstrom on Wednesday for dropping his daughter Ivanka's clothing line, prompting critics to accuse him of misusing public office to benefit his family's sprawling business empire.

After Mr Trump's highly unusual move to use a White House platform to intervene in a commercial matter involving his daughter, Nordstrom reiterated that its action last week was based on declining sales of the Ivanka Trump products.

But White House spokesman Sean Spicer characterised the move as a "direct attack" on the President's policies.

Ethics officials who served past administrations said Mr Trump's tweet, posted on both his personal and official accounts, was both unprecedented and troublesome.

"This is misuse of public office for private gains," said Mr Richard Painter, who was President George W. Bush's chief ethics lawyer.

"And it is abuse of power because the official message is clear - Nordstrom is persona non grata with the administration."

Ms Trump ran a clothing and jewellery business bearing her name, in addition to other work for the Trump Organisation.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 10, 2017, with the headline 'President slams retailer for dropping daughter's brand'. Print Edition | Subscribe