Despite the mass appeal that Ivanka Trump’s name brought to her New York-based fashion company, the president’s daughter is calling it quits and shutting down her successful line of clothing and jewelry.
Due to limitations placed on the brand from Trump’s role as a White House senior advisor, as well as the 36-year-old’s desire to become more engaged in her father’s administration, the first daughter is closing the doors of the clothing and jewelry company that bears her name.
“After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business,” Ivanka Trump said in a statement announcing her departure. “But I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington, so making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners.”
Rather than work as an informal advisor to the president, Ivanka Trump voluntarily chose in 2017 to assume the ethics standards and duties commensurate with a senior advisor in her father’s administration. Trump works out of her West Wing office where assumes “increased opportunities to lead initiatives driving real policy benefits for the American public that would not have been available to her previously.”
Since then, Trump has taken on an “unprecedented role” in the administration, departing from that of previous presidential children. She has been spotted holding roundtable forums with female business owners in an effort to empower women, and it was Ivanka Trump — not Secretary of State Rex Tillerson — who was tasked with meeting with South Korea’s foreign minister ahead of her father’s historic summit on the Korean Peninsula.
“Ivanka and members of the [National Security Council] are meeting with the foreign minister, as they developed a close relationship during the Olympic Games,” a White House official explained at the time. “The foreign minister asked for the meeting while they were at the Olympics together.”
Despite her contributions to international diplomacy and gender equality — undertaken without collecting a single dollar in wages — Trump’s outreach hasn’t come without a fair share of partisan criticism. Leading Senate Democrats from the Office of Government Ethics, like Sens. Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Tom Carper (DE), questioned Trump’s “increasing, albeit unspecified” duties and the conflicts of interest that her business ventures might trigger.
A letter from the progressive lawmakers asked if Trump would be divesting herself of those business interests or if she would recuse herself from government functions which interfered with the impartial execution of her duties. In response to questions from the media detailing her responsibilities as a special advisor to the president, Trump noted that she was already complying with “all ethics rules,” even before formally assuming her new White House position.
Trump has been accused of receiving preferential treatment from Beijing after the Chinese government granted more than a dozen trademarks to Trump’s company. But a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied the allegations and said that the government handles all trademark applications equally.
Exiting on top
Still, the “strict limitations on the business” due to White House ethics rules “limited the brand’s ability to grow — both domestically and abroad,” the company explained.
Confirming the impending shutdown, Trump’s brand associates released a statement saying: “This decision has nothing to do with the performance of the brand and is based solely on Ivanka’s decision to remain in Washington indefinitely.”
The president of the Ivanka Trump brand, Abigail Klem, called the choice to shut the company’s doors “a very difficult decision for Ivanka.”
Trump made at least $5 million from her company in 2017, selling jewelry, handbags, athletic wear, and other products, contributing to the $82 million she and her husband grossed that year.