White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that President Donald Trump’s top adviser Kellyanne Conway “has been counseled” for urging Fox News viewers to buy products from Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories line. He declined to comment further.
“Questions have been raised after Kellyanne Conway did an interview, I believe it was with Fox News this morning, where she appeared to, from the confines of the Brady briefing room, promote the products of Ivanka Trump,” a reporter asked Spicer during his daily briefing. “Do you believe that she crossed an ethical line here?”
“Kellyanne has been counseled and that’s all we’re going to go with,” Spicer replied. “She’s been counseled on that subject, and that’s it.”
Conway used a Fox News appearance on Thursday morning to encourage people to buy items from Ivanka Trump’s fashion line.
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would tell you,” she said. “I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody, you can find it online.”
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff.” pic.twitter.com/MP1gHRHs6W
— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) February 9, 2017
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) asked House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) in a letter Thursday to refer Conway’s statements “for review and potential disciplinary action.”
“This appears to be a textbook violation of government ethics laws and regulations enacted to prevent the abuse of an employee’s government position,” he wrote.
Liberal government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint over Conway’s comments on Thursday with the Office of Government Ethics and the White House Counsel’s Office.
The group alleged that Conway violated regulations that bar federal employees from endorsing products and broke a law that bars the use of federal funds for non-official purposes.
Conway’s remarks came a day after Trump attacked Nordstrom on Twitter for dropping Ivanka Trump’s line of products. Conway claimed the company made the decision to get to the President.
“Using her, who has been a champion for women empowerment, of women in the workplace, to get to him,” she said on Thursday. “I think people can see right through that.”
Spicer himself took a similar tone on Wednesday when he called Nordstrom’s decision a “direct attack” on the President.
“There’s a targeting of her brand and it’s her name,” he said. “There are clearly efforts to undermine that name based on her father’s positions on particular policies that he’s taken. This is a direct attack on his policies and her name.”
Sean Spicer on Trump’s tweet blasting Nordstrom: The President “has every right to stand up for his family” https://t.co/8swHddQQdw
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 8, 2017
Nordstrom has said that the move to drop the line was due to declining sales rather than politics, and that it informed Ivanka Trump of the decision personally in January.