The White House on Thursday said that a top adviser to President Trump had been “counseled” after using a television appearance from the West Wing to promote the clothing and jewelry line sold under the brand of Trump’s daughter.
The endorsement, in which Kellyanne Conway told Fox News Channel viewers to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff,” appeared to violate a key ethics rule barring federal employees from using their public office to endorse products. The White House reaction was a rare acknowledgment of an ethical misstep.
Conway’s remarks drew a sharp and unusual rebuke from a top Republican lawmaker, House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who said that Conway’s comments were “absolutely wrong, wrong, wrong” and “clearly over the line.”
Chaffetz, who has resisted calls by Democrats to investigate potential conflicts related to President Trump’s businesses, joined with the Oversight Committee’s ranking Democrat, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (Md.), in sending a letter to the Office of Government Ethics calling Conway’s comments “unacceptable.” The letter asked the agency to recommend discipline given that Trump, who is Conway’s “agency head,” holds an “inherent conflict of interest” due to the involvement of his daughter’s business.
In a terse comment to reporters Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that Conway had been “counseled on the subject” but did not say whether she would be disciplined. Spicer did not say why Conway’s statements had required the intervention, and the White House declined to answer further questions.
Speaking on Fox News Thursday evening, Conway declined to comment but said Trump supports her “100 percent.”
Conway said she advised all women to, at some point in their life, have a boss who treats them “the way the president of the United States treated me today.”
The incident was the latest illustration of how the Trump White House has struggled to grapple with long-established ethics rules as the president has attempted to balance the potentially competing interests of his new public position and his family’s vast business holdings.Read More...
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