Last November, in the wake of the sad joke of an election that put the Trump Dynasty in the White House, the Washington Post predicted that his entire thieving family would be using their patriarch’s position to pad their already-bulging pockets: “we could see the president enriching himself and his family on a scale that we normally associate with post-Soviet kleptocrats and Third World dictators.”
Well, whatever Donnie-boy himself may or may not be doing, his offspring have wasted no time in taking advantage of their new status. Two weeks ago, daughter Ivanka sat down to a “state dinner” at the family’s Mar-a-Lago resort with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his spouse, Peng Liyuan. That very day, the Beijing government gave Ivanka Trump Marks LLC approval for three trademarks, giving her exclusive rights to sell her brand products in what is the second-largest economy on the planet.
This, despite having reportedly stepped back from her company and putting it into a family trust prior to taking her “unpaid” position as “presidential adviser.”
Ivanka has actually been pretty busy promoting her brand since her father’s sparsely-attended inauguration this past January 20th. In February, her company applied for two additional trademarks in the Philippines (where it has three already), applied for one in Canada after meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (the company holds 22 in that country), and used a photo op as she got off Air Force one to promote a skirt from her own collection.
And that’s just in February. In fact, since the election, Ivanka’s brand has been doing fabulously well, despite the fact that some prominent U.S. retailers like Marshall’s and Nordstrom have stopped carrying her products. She even got free advertising on “Fox and Friends” when Kellyanne Conway urged viewers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff” – giving the brand a 770% boost in sales. Small business owners who voted for her dad should remember this the next time they have to shell out major bucks to promote their own products and services.
What Ivanka is doing may not be altogether illegal, but criminal conflict-of-interest laws do prohibit government employees from involvement in official business that can affect their personal interests, making it a gray area. Furthermore, the more Invanka’s business interests expand, the greater the potential that it will compromise her ability to objectively advise her father on matter such as trade and currency.
Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer under the Bush II Administration, believes Ivanka’s safest course of action would be to “put the business on hold and stop trying to get trademarks while you’re in government.”
As long as their companies are doing so well, don’t expect anyone in the Commander-In-Thief’s family to do that. Despite having stepped down from the actual day-to-day management of their businesses, all three – Donnie, Ivanka and son-in-law Jared – continue to rake in the bucks. The question now is – how far will it go before they actually do break the law – and will there be any real consequences?
We can only hope, but don’t hold your breath.