Making Ivanka get paid again
Nordstrom said it will stop carrying Ivanka Trump’s fashion line because it isn’t selling. Donald Trump doesn’t want you to buy that.
The president used social media — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram — and the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, to go after the retailer Wednesday, Newsday’s Emily Ngo reports.
“My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” read the tweet on both his personal @realdonaldtrump and official @POTUS accounts.
Spicer said there’s nothing wrong with Trump responding to an “attack on his daughter” (Nordstrom didn’t “attack” her.)
Ethics experts say Trump hasn’t done nearly enough to separate himself from conflicts of interest — for example, using his position to intimidate businesses that don’t play ball with family companies. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) forwarded the tweet to the Office of Government Ethics.
Apparently determined to deepen the corruption questions swirling about the Trumps, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway on Thursday went on Fox News and said: "Go buy Ivanka's stuff . . . It's a wonderful line. I own some of it."
Some anti-Trump groups have urged boycotts of retailers, including Nordstrom, for selling Trump goods. Now Trump’s fans have taken custody of the hashtag #boycottnordstrom.
When the first dad gets mad
Trump isn’t the first president to speak up for his daughter. But when Harry Truman went there, it was to defend her singing talents, not an entitlement to display space at a department store chain.
This was in 1950, after a Washington Post critic, Paul Hume, panned Margaret Truman’s concert at Constitution Hall.
A letter from Truman to Hume ripped his “lousy review,” insulted him as an “eight-ulcer man on four-ulcer pay” (a sick burn in those days, apparently) and threatened that should they meet, “you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below.”
Years later, Hume dropped in on the retired president, who was delighted at the visit and played the piano for him.
The take-away: Thanks, Rudy
If Trump loses the court fight over his travel ban, he can thank Rudy Giuliani for torpedoing one of the government’s arguments, notes Newsday’s Dan Janison.
Giuliani held forth Jan. 28 on Fox News about the history of the travel measure. Giuliani recalled that Trump initially called it a “Muslim ban,” then called Giuliani and asked: “Put a commission together. Show me the right way to do it legally.’ ”
The ban’s opponents cited Giuliani’s comments to support their charge of discrimination. The Justice Department lawyer could have noted that, like Trump, the former mayor is frequently estranged from facts. But he didn’t.
An unjudicial temperament
The president could have held his fire while everyone waits for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to issue its decision. But that’s not how he roils.
“It’s really incredible to me that we have a court case that’s going on so long. . . . Again, a bad high school student would understand this. Anybody would understand this,” Trump told a police chiefs’ group. He said the judges “are interpreting things differently than probably 100 percent of the people in this room” and called the hearing held Tuesday “disgraceful.”
See Ngo’s story for Newsday.
Who’s he to judge? Oh ...
Trump’s attacks on the federal judicial branch — including the tweet about the “so-called judge” who blocked his travel ban order — were disowned by his Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch.
Gorsuch called the attacks “demoralizing” and “disheartening” to the independence of the courts in a private meeting Wednesday with Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who relayed Gorsuch’s comments to reporters.
The remarks were confirmed by Ron Bonjean, a member of the judge’s “sherpa” team, a group of aides tasked with helping him navigate the confirmation process, The Washington Post reported.
Trump, who ducked military service during the Vietnam War, tried to deflect Thursday by attacking Blumenthal on Twitter over his non-service in Vietnam.
Justice for Jeff
Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama was confirmed Wednesday night as Trump’s attorney general, Newsday’s Tom Brune reported.
Sessions, a conservative four-term senator whom the Senate rejected as a judge in 1986, has stirred some of the strongest opposition to Trump’s Cabinet nominees. Liberal, pro-immigrant and civil rights activists have spurred Senate Democrats to vote against the president’s choice to lead the Justice Department.
Democrats were galvanized by the Republican majority’s unusual move Tuesday night to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as she read a 1986 letter condemning Sessions that was written by Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King.
What else is happening
- Real-life facts of geology, bedrock and soil make Trump's border-wall proposal much more complicated and time-consuming than the president's executive order would suggest, Smithsonian reports in an in-depth article.
- Federal defense and intelligence officials doubt the use of White House plans to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization -- an idea the Obama administration considered but dropped as superfluous, WaPo reports.
- Spicer said that anyone who questions the success of last week’s deadly U.S.-led raid in Yemen — Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was one — “owes an apology” to the Navy SEAL who was killed there. McCain said his take on the mission was not a criticism of the SEALs involved.
- They might sound the same, but the credibility-challenged Spicer has kept mentioning Atlanta as the scene of a past terrorist attack and now says he was referring to Orlando.
- Melania Trump’s lawyer said she has no intention of profiting from her position as first lady, though a libel lawsuit she filed claimed that published falsehoods threatened her “once-in-a-lifetime” earning potential.
- National Security Adviser Mike Flynn got a 3 a.m. phone call from Trump asking whether a strong or weak dollar is better for the U.S. economy, according to The Huffington Post. Trump didn’t like with the response — that it was better to ask an economist than the former general, the report added.
- Judging in part from the angry reactions, comedians who skewer Trump feel they are having an impact, The Washington Post reports. “It’s great it’s angering him so much,” Nikki Glaser said.
- Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told The New York Times he and his Senate GOP colleagues are quite satisfied with the Trump team so far for its “right-of-center” agenda. “Our members are not obsessed with the daily tweets, but are looking at the results,” he said.
- Liberal groups have filed a lawsuit against Trump, seeking to block his executive order that requires federal agencies to repeal two regulations for every new one they adopt, Politico reports.
- The Defense Department is seeking to rent space in Trump Tower for support staff and equipment for when he stays in his New York residence and offices, The Washington Post says.