Kellyanne Conway, senior adviser to President Trump, recently appeared on Fox and Friends and told the American public to buy Ivanka Trump’s products. Her comments on the president’s daughter’s business pose an ethical concern.
Walter M. Shaub Jr., Office of Government Ethics director, recommended an investigation and possible disciplinary action against Conway for these remarks, which may be a violation of the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, according to National Public Radio.
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would tell you. I hate shopping, and I’m gonna go get some on myself today,” Conway said in her appearance on Fox and Friends.
Students at John Brown University voiced their concerns regarding the ethics behind Conway’s comments.
“I don’t think she should advocate for a brand like that,” Taylor Genser, sophomore elementary education major, said. “It’s kind of not her job.”
Colleen Dyer, junior history major, said, “I do have a problem with how she handled it specifically in the setting in which it was done.”
Dyer said she wouldn’t have had a problem with Conway’s remarks if they were on her personal social media, but “doing it in a talk show was endorsing it in a political sphere.”
“At issue is the section of the Standards of Conduct prohibiting employees from misusing their official positions,” Shaub wrote in a letter to Stefan Passantino White House deputy counsel. “Executive branch officials should use the authority entrusted to them for the benefit of the American people and not for private profit.”
“I note that [Office of Government Ethics’] regulation on misuse of position offers as an example the hypothetical case of a Presidential appointee appearing in a television commercial to promote a product,” Shaub wrote in the letter. “Ms. Conway’s actions track that example almost exactly.”
Elizabeth Jones, sophomore music major, said of Conway’s comments, “I feel like that’s really twisted – to use her position to create monetary gain for Trump’s family.”
Dyer said that she felt like Conway was endorsing “the person more than the product,” and that endorsing Ivanka herself was irrelevant because “Nordstrom only cared about the product, which wasn’t selling well recently.”
This is not the first controversy surrounding the president’s family’s products. There have been boycotts of Trump products since the release of the Access Hollywood video, in which now-President Trump bragged about grabbing women by the genitals, according to NPR.
Sears and Kmart have followed Nordstrom’s action, dropping Trump home furnishings lines. These companies also said the lines were dropped due to low sales.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer said Conway has been “counseled” about her comments. Trump has not addressed Conway’s remarks, but Conway said she has support from the President, according to NPR.