With Ivanka's jewelry ad, Trump companies begin to seek to profit off election result

By Drew Harwell

President-elect Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka. Photo / Getty Images
President-elect Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka. Photo / Getty Images

One day after President-elect Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka spoke to "60 Minutes" about her father's rise to power, her jewelry line alerted journalists to a surprising fact: The First Daughter-elect's bracelet could be bought for US$10,800.

It was the first televised interview with the new commander-in-chief of a deeply anxious America. But it was also, for the Trump company, an undeniable promotional opportunity.

The 18-karat Metropolis diamond bangle, a gold version of which also sold for US$8,800, was Ivanka's "favorite bangle," an Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry vice president told journalists in a "style alert."

The sales tactic marked one of the first moments since the election during which the Trump companies have sought to use Trump's presidential prominence to boost their private fortunes.

But it may not be the last. Ethics advisers have increasingly voiced concerns over the unprecedented conflicts of interest that could arise from the soon-to-be First Family's empire of real estate, luxury goods and licensing deals.

"This will keep a spotlight on the family business, on the members of the family, how they run the business and their interactions with the government," said Jan Witold Baran, a partner at Washington law firm Wiley Rein.

"Family members can create problems all on their own."

Officials said Friday that Trump would name his children to his presidential transition team, guaranteeing Ivanka and her siblings will likely have influential roles in deciding the players and policies of Trump's time in office.

The presidential campaign was a ripe time for Trump corporate marketing. Ivanka Trump's fashion line advertised on Twitter encouraging shoppers to buy the dress she wore during her Republican National Convention speech.

In the first months of Trump's campaign, revenue at his palatial Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, nearly doubled, and his book, "Crippled America," drew in millions of dollars in royalties, financial disclosure filings showed.

This will keep a spotlight on the family business, on the members of the family, how they run the business and their interactions with the government.
Jan Witold Baran, partner at Washington law firm Wiley Rein

But the promotional spots since Trump's electoral victory reveal the many potential entanglements that could influence the businessman's presidency.

During the "60 Minutes" interview Sunday, Ivanka Trump sought to maintain her connection to the licensing and merchandising deals she had forged as a businesswoman in her father's image.

When asked if she would assume a role in Trump's White House, Ivanka Trump said she would not, adding, "I'm going to be a daughter. But I've said throughout the campaign that I am very passionate about certain issues and I want to fight for them."

"Wage equality, child care, these are things that are really important to me," added Ivanka, a Trump company executive vice president who also runs her own lines for clothing, shoes and handbags. "There are a lot of things that I feel really strongly about, but not in a formal administrative capacity."

There are a lot of things that I feel really strongly about, but not in a formal administrative capacity.
Ivanka Trump

The Trump Organization and Ivanka Trump's jewelry line did not respond to messages Tuesday.

There is nothing illegal about the advertisements. Conflict-of-interest laws do not block a president from involving himself in matters that could boost his private companies' wealth or prominence.

Trump has also resisted the tradition set by most presidents before him of selling or handing over his assets into a "blind trust" controlled by an independent manager. He said he intends to give control of his companies to Ivanka and his other children, an arrangement that ethics experts say does little to put distance between Trump's presidential decision-making and personal estate.

Though some Trump companies have faced growing boycotts, Ivanka Trump's brands have seemingly gained a generous boost in attention during her father's campaign. The retail site ShopRunner said interest in the Ivanka Trump Collection had exploded in recent months.

- Washington Post

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