WASHINGTON, February 10, 2017—Kellyanne Conway said that she apologized to Donald Trump for saying people should “buy Ivanka’s stuff” on Fox News Thursday. However, it is the American people—who pay her salary—who deserve an apology.
On Thursday morning, Kellyanne Conway, top advisor to the president, went on Fox News to talk about Ivanka Trump and her company parting ways with Nordstrom. Conway was speaking from the White House press briefing room, with the White House logo displayed prominently behind her.
“Go buy Ivanka’s stuff, is what I would tell you,” said Conway on air. “It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it. I fully — I’m going to just, I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
Conway’s comments are likely a violation of 5 C.F.R. 2635.702, a federal ethics law that bars the use of a public office to endorse a product. However, enforcement of this law falls to the White House, which is unlikely to meaningfully censure Conway.
A letter to the Office of Government Ethics, co-authored by Representative Elijah Cummings (D) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, calls on the agency to use its authority to recommend to the president the “appropriate disciplinary action.” The letter lists “reprimand, suspension, demotion, or dismissal” as possible disciplinary actions.
Hours after Conway’s appearance on Fox, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated, “Kellyanne has been counseled, and that’s all we’re gonna go with. She’s been counseled on that subject, and that’s it.”
According to reports, Conway apologized to Trump Thursday. She tweeted Friday that Trump supported her.
It appears that the Trump White House considers having Conway “counseled” (and then walking that back) is the appropriate disciplinary action for a violation of federal ethics laws. Apparently Conway’s apology to Trump was sufficient.
However, Kellyanne Conway has yet to apologize to the American people, the people who pay her salary, for breaking a federal ethics law and for further embroiling the government in a conflict of interest quagmire that could have been avoided if Trump and family had divested from their businesses. In fact, instead of apologizing, Conway decided to take a victory lap on Twitter, appearing to gloat about breaking federal ethics laws and having Trump’s full backing.
Featured image: Philip Cohen, Flickr Creative Commons