White House Announces Conway Was Counseled
On Thursday, the White House said President Donald Trump’s top advisor was counseled after she used an appearance on television to promote the jewelry and clothing line of Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter.
That endorsement, in which Kellyann Conway told viewers on Fox to go and buy Ivanka’s stuff, seemed to violate key ethics rules that bar federal employees from endorsing products through use of their public office.
Reaction by the White House was an acknowledgement, albeit rare, of an ethical misstep on the part of Conway.
The remarks Conway made received an unusual and sharp rebuke from a top lawmaker with the Republican Party, Jason Chaffetz the Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
Chaffetz said that the comments made by Conway were wrong and clearly stepped over the line. He has resisted the calls from Democrats to investigate possible conflicts related to the businesses of President Trump, but sent a letter, with Elijah Cummings the ranking Democrat in the Oversight Committee, to the Office of Government Ethics. The letter called the comments made by Conway unacceptable.
The letter also asked the federal agency to recommend a discipline, given Trump, who is the agency head of Conway, holds inherent conflict of interest because of his daughter’s business being involved.
Thursday, during a terse comment to White House reporters, Sean Spicer the press secretary said Conway was counseled about the incident, but he did not say if she was going to be disciplined.
Spicer did not mention why the statements made by Conway required intervention and declined to answer any other questions on the subject.
Conway, while speaking Thursday night on Fox would not comment about the incident, but said she is supported by Trump 100%.
Conway advised all women at some point to have a boss that treats them the way she was treated on Thursday by the U.S. president.
This incident is another illustration of how the current White House is struggling with long-established ethics rules while the president tries to balance competing interests of his new position and the vast business holdings of his family.
This matter is now causing problems politically as a number of opponents to the policies announced by Trump have been waging a campaign to boycott the brands of his family and protest at his different properties.
These tensions this has caused underscore the difficulty faced by Trump in going through with his vow of separating his businesses from his presidency.