DONALD Trump has attacked a major US retailer for dumping his daughter Ivanka’s fashion line in a scathing tweet ethicists have dubbed “unprecedented”.
Nordstrom, which has stocked the Ivanka Trump collection since 2009, said last week it ditched the brand amid declining sales.
The dispatch was soon retweeted by the official @POTUS Twitter account.
Other retailers to drop the brand include Neiman Marcus, Belk, Jet and ShopStyle, amid a widespread #GrabYourWallet campaign to boycott businesses the Trump family profits from.
Mr Trump’s tweet has sparked outrage, with many observers saying it represents a conflict of interest.
“(It’s) unprecedented for a number of reasons,” Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics spokesman Jordan Libowitz told New York Daily News.
“It’s pretty rare for the president to use the power of the presidency to go after a company. And to do so on behalf of his family’s business interests is certainly something we’ve never seen before.
“This is a weapon he could be wielding to benefit his family … It plays into this larger narrative where people have to wonder, when he’s making decisions in the office of the President, are they being made with the American people’s best interests in mind or with the Trump family’s bottom line in mind?”
A spokesperson for the Office of Government Ethics confirmed to New York Daily News that Trump would not be subject to rules regarding misuse of position and endorsing organizations and products or the impartiality provision.
Ethics expert Norm Eisen, a fellow at the Brookings Institution and former ethics czar for President Obama, branded it “outrageous.”
This comes after Melania Trump filed a libel lawsuit against the Daily Mail, saying it cost her a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to profit from her brand as first lady.
While Ms Trump doesn’t have an official role within the White House, insiders say she helps to keep her father in check.
Last week, the White House released a statement pledging to retain LGBTI protections implemented by the Obama administration after a draft executive order on how to roll back the laws was leaked.
Ms Trump is also said to be helping smooth her father’s fractured relationship with China, with The National Post reporting officials are skipping the state department and going straight to her to gain influence with the US president.
Her visit to the Chinese embassy to mark New Year’s with her daughter Arabella last week helped balance her father’s “harsh posture” and the appearance “could be invigorating to the China-US relationship,” according to nationalist paper, The Global Times.
Footage of Arabella, five, singing a Chinese New Year greeting in Mandarin has also gone viral in China. The New York Times reported that more than 60,000 people liked the song on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.
Chinese state media has slammed Mr Trump’s executive order that temporarily bans visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries, saying it shows his administration does not understand its counter-terrorism duties.
Mr Trump’s January 27 order sought to bar entry by travellers from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days, and by all refugees for 120 days, except for refugees from Syria, who face an indefinite ban. It is currently before the courts.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said Mr Trump’s order “shows that his administration has no correct recognition of the responsibility it needs to shoulder in a global fight against terrorism”.
“Radical elements around the world could use the ban to further justify their ruthless causes, and to gain more recruits,” Xinhua said in a commentary.
“That is a grave threat not only to the safety and security of the United States, but that of others worldwide. Banned countries on the list, such as Iraq, Libya and Syria, have been victimised by terrorism because previous US governments and other Western powers deliberately intervened for self-interests.”
Such commentaries from Xinhua do not equate to government policy, but often reflect official thinking.
Mr Trump has stepped up his criticism of the US judicial system, saying courts seem to be “so political,” a day after his US travel ban faced close scrutiny from an appeals court.
A three-judge panel of the San Francisco-based 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday heard arguments on the Trump administration’s challenge to a lower court order putting his temporary travel ban on hold. The appeals court is expected to issue a ruling as soon as today.
“I don’t ever want to call a court biased,” Mr Trump told a few hundred police chiefs and sheriffs from major cities at a meeting in Washington.
“So I won’t call it biased. And we haven’t had a decision yet. But courts seem to be so political. And it would be so great for our justice system if they would be able to read the statement and do what’s right. I think it’s a sad day. I think our security’s at risk today.”
The appeals court judges questioned whether the directive improperly targeted people because of their religion.
“If these judges wanted to, in my opinion, help the court in terms of respect for the court, they’d do what they should be doing,” the Republican president said.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Trump tweeted that unless a court allows a travel ban America can “never have the security and safety to which we are entitled.”
If the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals opts to keep US District Judge James Robart’s order in place, the case could return to Mr Robart, who would have more time to make a ruling on the merits of the case, based on fuller arguments and evidence.
If they let Mr Trump’s ban go forward with his executive order, it could compound the backlash. The travel ban would take effect once again pending a legal challenge by Washington state and Minnesota, even though the courts might wind up striking it down later.
Mr Trump called National Security Adviser Mike Flynn at 3am to ask about the economic impact of a strong US dollar, according to the Huffington Post.
Citing sources with knowledge of the conversation, the publication reported that Mr Trump asked the retired lieutenant general if the strong dollar was good or bad for the US economy.
According to the sources, General Flynn said he was not sure and that Mr Trump should ask an economist. The US president was reportedly “not thrilled with that response”.
The Huffington Post said neither General Flynn’s office nor the White House responded to their request for comment.
The publication reports Mr Trump’s “volatile behaviour has created an environment ripe for leaks” in his two-week-old administration.
The White House says the Director of National Intelligence and the director of the Central Intelligence Agency will both be members of Mr Trump’s Cabinet.
The Senate has already confirmed former congressman Mike Pompeo as CIA director, but the nomination of former Senator Dan Coats is still awaiting Senate confirmation as DNI.
The decision follows a political controversy over a decision by Trump not to make the director of national intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff regular members of the Principals Committee, a key White House decision-making body.
White House Press Secretary has repeatedly defended Mr Trump’s travel ban by pointing to an Islamist terror attack in the US city of Atlanta that never happened, according to The Daily Beast.
Mr Spicer has pointed to the capital of Georgia (along with San Bernardino and Boston) as one of three US cities attacked by terrorists in appearances on ABC’s This Week and MSNBC’s Morning Joe, and during a White House press briefing.
It comes as Trump counsellor Kellyanne Conway said that the media had failed to cover the “Bowling Green massacre” carried out by two Iraqi men in Kentucky six years ago — an attack that never happened.
The US military is looking to rent space at Trump Tower for use when Mr Trump is working in New York City.
Pentagon spokesman Army Lieutenant Colonel J.B. Brindle says the Department of Defence is looking for the space “in order to meet official mission requirements”.
It’s not immediately clear how much it would cost the Pentagon to rent space in the 58-storey mid-town Manhattan tower owned by the Trump Organisation.
Mr Trump lives in the three-storey penthouse. He hasn’t returned to New York since taking office on January 20, but his wife, Melania, and their son, Barron, live there.
It’s customary for the military to obtain space near a president’s residence.
In a rare move, the Senate voted on Tuesday night to silence Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren from speaking out against Senator Jeff Sessions, Mr Trump’s nominee for attorney general.
Senator Warren was shockingly silenced for reading the letter that Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr’s widow, wrote three decades ago criticising Senator Sessions’ record on race.
The late-night dust-up quickly spawned the Twitter hashtag #LetLizSpeak and threw the Senate into turmoil as it headed into tonight’s vote on the Alabama senator.
However Republicans didn’t stop other Democratic senators — all men — from reading from Mrs King’s letter in the Senate on Wednesday.
In the 1986 letter, Mrs King said Sessions’ actions as a federal prosecutor were “reprehensible” and he used his office “in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.” At the time, Sessions was being considered for a federal judgeship.
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