If reality matched “The Apprentice,” President Donald Trump might have turned to his daughter, decried her sales performance, and declared: “You’re fired.”
Instead, Trump complained on Twitter that Ivanka Trump “has been treated so unfairly” by the Nordstrom department store chain when it dropped her clothing line.
Suddenly the “tell-it-like-it-is” businessman sounded a bit like an economic lefty bemoaning the impact of a free-market decision.
Family values, advertising, show business and the presidency mesh in new and riveting ways.
From the White House, counselor Kellyanne Conway said on television Thursday that people should “go buy Ivanka’s stuff.”
“I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”
Conway, employed by taxpayers, was endorsing a product.
Federal law says: “An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”
But Conway didn’t invent the step-right-up-for-the-deal-of-a-lifetime political style. She only signed on.
Last March, after winning the Michigan and Mississippi GOP primaries, Trump held an infomercial of a news conference. He touted Trump water, Trump wines and a heap of Trump steaks.
Everyone knew when we elected him that this is what he does. Sell, sell, sell. Brand, brand, brand. Deal, deal, deal.
He would be our salesman-statesman.
On Jan. 19 White House spokesman Sean Spicer made a Conway-like pitch for the Trump International Hotel in Washington.
“It’s an absolutely stunning hotel,” Spicer said. “I encourage you to go there if you haven’t been by.”
Last September, Trump sited a big campaign news conference there. “It will be one of the great hotels anywhere in the world,” he said.
Briefly last month, a White House website mentioned first lady Melania Trump’s jewelry line at QVC. The reference was removed after a news story appeared. She also said in court that a false British newspaper story cost her “major business opportunities that were otherwise available to her.”
For a pre-inaugural charity event, organizers proposed that donors of $1 million meet Trump and take a hunting or fishing trip with sons Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr. That too was nixed once publicized.
On Saturday, Trump showcased three of his Florida properties while hosting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Call it an Oval Office or a Chamber of Commerce, this is how Team Trump rolls.