Trump slams Nordstrom for treating daughter ‘unfairly’

U.S. President Donald Trump criticized Nordstrom Inc. for dropping daughter Ivanka’s brand from the department-store chain, drawing a new company into the president’s ongoing skirmishes with corporate America.

“My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly,” Trump said on his personal Twitter account Wednesday. “She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” He later retweeted the message from the official presidential account, @POTUS.

Nordstrom said last week that it would stop selling Ivanka Trump’s brand this season, citing poor sales. The retailer had come under fire from the Grab Your Wallet campaign, a critic of the administration that is asking shoppers to boycott retailers that carry Ivanka Trump or Donald Trump goods.

Trump’s tweet renewed questions about whether he’s using the presidential pulpit to sway business interests for himself or his family. In addition to starting a lifestyle brand, Ivanka Trump has worked for the Trump Organization, and husband Jared Kushner serves as a presidential adviser. Ivanka Trump said last month that she was handing day-to-day operations of her brand to lieutenant Abigail Klem.

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Presidential Pressure

“It’s never great to have these questions about dual allegiance,” said Jordan Libowitz, communications director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a non-partisan watchdog group. “But certainly we’ve never seen before a president using the power of the presidency to pressure businesses for the obvious benefit of his family.”

A representative for Seattle-based Nordstrom didn’t respond to requests for comment. Ivanka Trump’s brand didn’t have an immediate comment.

The Nordstrom tweet went out at 10:51 a.m. Washington time — just 21 minutes after Trump was scheduled to receive his daily intelligence briefing.

Shares of Nordstrom dipped after Wednesday’s tweet was posted, though they quickly recovered. As of 12:36 p.m., the stock was up 0.8 per cent at $ 43.14.

Once again, a company is now engulfed in a political controversy with a single tweet from the president. Trump’s personal account has 24 million followers, and he’s frequently used it to browbeat businesses — often without warning. He also gained use of the official @POTUS account, which has about 15 million followers, when he was inaugurated on Jan. 20.

F-35 Jet

Lockheed Martin Corp. was a target last year, when then president-elect Trump said the costs of the F-35 fighter jet were out of control. The comment sent the stock down 2.5 per cent and erased almost $ 2 billion in market value.

He has also used his account to praise companies, such as L.L. Bean. In January, he urged people to buy products from the catalogue retailer after the founder’s granddaughter sparked controversy by donating to a political action committee that supported his campaign.

Nordstrom had been an early supporter of Ivanka Trump’s shoe line after it launched in 2011. It was one of the first retailers to offer her wares, which span footwear, apparel and accessories. But recently her products began to disappear from its inventory, raising questions about the relationship. That’s when the chain confirmed that it decided not to reorder the brand’s merchandise.

“Based on the brand’s performance, we’ve decided not to buy it for this season,” the company said last week.

Shoppers also have reported a shrinking selection of Ivanka’s products at other retailers. And the T.J. Maxx and Marshalls chains have stopped presenting her merchandise in separate branded areas, instead putting the items in with the rest of their wares, according to a company memo obtained by the New York Times. Employees were instructed to throw away the Ivanka Trump signs, the newspaper reported. TJX Cos., the parent company of the two retailers, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Bloomberg.

Macy’s Split

Donald Trump had an earlier feud with Macy’s Inc., which previously sold his brand of menswear. The department-store chain split with him in 2015, after he criticized Mexican immigrants at the outset of his presidential campaign. Trump called Macy’s a “very disloyal company” and urged a boycott.

First Lady Melania Trump, meanwhile, is in a legal battle over her own brand. She’s suing the Daily Mail, saying a defamatory article deprived her of the chance to sell clothing, shoes, jewelry and perfume. The $ 150-million (U.S.) suit said the London tabloid, which later retracted the story, made it almost impossible to take advantage of “major business opportunities.”

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TORONTO STAR | BUSINESS

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