White House counsellor 'counselled' for endorsing Ivanka Trump’s line

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Kellyanne Conway
Kellyanne Conway on NBC's "Meet the Press." Reuters/Carlos Barria

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said on Thursday that US President Donald Trump's new campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has been "counselled" after she promoted Ivanka’s clothing and accessory line. Conway has earlier made a television appearance from the West Wing and promoted the first daughter’s brand.

In his daily press briefing, Spicer said she has been counselled on that issue and that’s it. "Kellyanne has been counselled, and that's all we are going to go with," Spicer told reporters.

Spicer has not provided any details why Conway’s statements had required an intervention, who has talked to Conway and what has been discussed. He had refused to answer further questions thrown by the reporters during the press briefing.

White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders backed up Spencer’s claims, saying the consultation with Conway took place after her interview. However, she also was mum about who spoke to Conway or what was discussed during the conversation.

Conway is recently involved with a controversial endorsement she made during her appearance on Fox News.  "Go buy Ivanka's stuff, is what I would tell you I hate shopping but I'm going to go get some for myself today," Conway said. The White House counsellor was then answering to criticisms thrown at the president for tweeting his dismay against department store chain Nordstrom.

Nordstrom recently announced dropping Ivanka Trump’s accessory and clothing line from its store offerings due to poor sales. The president believes that his daughter was so unfairly treated and called the company’s move political. Nordstrom said it was strictly a business decision. 

Last year, the #GrabYourWallet movement was launched to encourage retailers, including Nordstrom, to stop doing business with Donald Trump and his family. The campaign also calls for people to shun Trump-affiliated retailers. 

The endorsement from the White House counsellor appeared to have violated a key ethics rule that forbids federal employees from utilising their public office to advertise any product or business. House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz said Conway’s remarks were “absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong” and “clearly over the line.”

Don W Fox, a former OGE general counsel and now the office’s acting director, agreed that the White House counsellor’s comments were inappropriate. He described it as “jaw-dropping” and “a clear violation of rules prohibiting misuse of public office for anyone’s private gain.” Spicer chose not to react regarding Chaffetz and Fox’s comments against Conway’s remarks during his press briefing.