Sleazy Business in the White House

In a carryover from his transition, Donald Trump continues to use his position as POTUS to promote the businesses that he likes and punish those that he doesn’t. The latter came after Nordstrom announced last week that they would discontinue carrying Ivanka’s fashion line.

“We’ve said all along we make buying decisions based on performance. We’ve got thousands of brands — more than 2,000 offered on the site alone. Reviewing their merit and making edits is part of the regular rhythm of our business,” said a Thursday night statement from Nordstrom. “Each year we cut about 10 percent and refresh our assortment with about the same amount. In this case, based on the brand’s performance we’ve decided not to buy it for this season.”

For most designers, that would have simply been a bad day at the office. But Ivanka’s father is a thin-skinned bully who happens to be president. So this morning he tweeted this:

Later, the president’s press secretary has to defend that and managed to make the situation even more unseemly.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that Nordstrom’s decision to stop carrying Ivanka Trump’s clothing and accessories line is an attack on the president’s policies and his daughter…

“I think this is less about his family’s business and an attack on his daughter,” Spicer said. “He ran for president. He won. He’s leading this country. I think for people to take out their concern about his actions or his executive orders on members of his family, he has every right to stand up for his family and applaud their business activities, their success.”

What started out as a performance problem for Nordstrom became unfair treatment according to Trump and then turned into an attack on the president’s policies and family by Spicer.

I can’t believe that we’re talking about a fashion line on a political blog, but this is a great example of how this thin-skinned administration escalates even the most mundane of events. And that doesn’t even begin to address the problem with a POTUS who tries to punish a business for a personal pique.

While Trump is going after Nordstrom, he is using the Oval Office as the latest home shopping network for Intel. He invited the company’s CEO for a visit to make a new product announcement.

The White House announced Trump’s meeting with Krzanich in a last-minute update to its daily schedule sent to reporters about an hour before the meeting took place.

“I just want to introduce Brian Krzanich, who is the CEO of Intel, a great, great company,” Trump said.

He said that Krzanich had a “very big announcement” and invited him to speak.

“Brian, why don’t you say a few words and maybe also talk about the product you’re going to be making?” Trump said. “It’s amazing.”

“It’s an honor to be here today representing Intel and to be able to announce our $7 billion investment in our newest most advanced factory, Fab 42, in Chandler, Arizona,” Krzanich said.

Of course this is another one of those companies that is kissing up to Trump with a jobs announcement that has actually been in the works for years.

Former Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini announced in 2011 that the corporation would invest over $5 billion in Fab 42, which was originally set to be completed in 2013, according to a report by PCWorld…

Intel indefinitely postponed the factory’s opening in 2014 amid decreased demand, according to a report by the Oregonian.

So Intel gets a product push from the president in the Oval Office and the president gets to claim responsibility for the jobs they’ve been planning to create for the last 6 years.

The word that comes to mind with both of these incidents is “sleazy.” That’s probably a pretty good description of how Trump has been running his businesses for years. Now he’s bringing the same approach to the presidency. Excuse me while I go take a shower. Just talking about all this made me feel dirty.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.