On Wednesday, President Trump lashed out at Nordstrom on Twitter for dropping his daughter Ivanka’s brand from their stores. The previous day, his wife Melania refiled her $150 million libel lawsuit against the Daily Mail’s parent company, saying she has lost “major business opportunities” because of retracted claims that her old Slovenian modeling agency was also an escort service. Now, watchdogs and former presidential ethics advisers are speaking out, saying the Trump family is trying to use the White House to expand their business empires, the Guardian reports.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Obama’s former chief ethics adviser Norman Eisen said, “The Trumps are using the White House like the Kardashians used reality TV, to build and vastly expand their overall business enterprises.” Likewise, George W. Bush’s former ethics adviser Richard Painter said the language of Melania’s Daily Mail lawsuit suggests she may be “in an unprecedented, clear breach of rules about using her government position for private gain.”
Per the Guardian:
An AP review of business filings has found that Melania Trump has not stepped away from companies that manage royalties from her name-branded products. As of Tuesday, she was listed in New York filings as the CEO of Melania Marks Accessories Member Corp, the holding company of Melania Marks Accessories LLC, both of which remain active. Those companies managed between $15,000 and $50,000 in royalties from her accessories lines, the Trumps’ May 2016 financial disclosure filing shows.
The general counsel of the watchdog Project on Government Oversight, Scott Amey, called Melania’s ongoing businesses “another example of the first family blurring the line between public service and private business interests.” The Guardian also notes that while the president has handed over daily management of his real-estate, property-management, and licensing business to his adult sons and a longtime employee, he clearly “continues to financially benefit from his global business empire” in a “break from past practices.”