President Trump Used Public Office to Attack A Private Retail Store For Dropping His Daughter’s Clothing Line
Published: December 14, 2017
On February 2, 2017, retail chain Nordstrom announced it would no longer carry Ivanka Trump branded products.
On February 2, 2017, department store chain Nordstrom announced that it would no longer carry Ivanka Trump branded products in its stores.
On February 8, Pres. Trump responded by tweeting, “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!”
Soon after, the message was retweeted from the official presidential twitter account, @potus.
This amounts to misuse of public office for private gain because it sends a message to other businesses: if you cross any Trump family businesses, the President is willing to use his position to publicly attack you.
The result is that companies may be reluctant to cross the President for fear of undesirable media coverage that would result from a critical presidential tweet.
It is also conceivable that such tweets could also have the effect of encouraging Trump supporters to stay away from the targeted businesses, hurting their bottom lines.
And in the several of the instances in which Pres. Trump has tweeted criticism about publicly traded businesses, the stock market reacted by devaluing the company.
When then President-elect Trump tweeted on December 6, 2016 “Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!”, Boeing’s stock price fell nearly $2 a share, before bouncing back later in the day.
And when he tweeted “The F-35 program and cost is out of control. Billions of dollars can and will be saved on military (and other) purchases after January 20th” on December 12, 2016, the stock market responded by lopping $4 billion off Lockheed Martin’s market capitalization.
Trump's tweet about Nordstrom did not have a negative effect on its share price.
But given that the President’s threats and tweets are capable of sending a public company’s stock price into wild gyrations, costing the company’s shareholders money, businesses may be reluctant to make decisions which have a negative financial impact on the undivested business interests of Pres. Trump, Jared Kushner or Ivanka Trump.
Thus, using the presidency to attack a private retail business for dropping his daughter’s products amounts to a misuse of public office for private gains, and therefore, constitutes political corruption.