Student Op-Eds

Tension Rises between Trump and U.S. Businesses

Edward Bagliani “18 – Inside Politics Participant

In this past week, six major retail corporations have dropped Ivanka Trump’s merchandise brand. With Nordstrom being the first to drop the brand, retail stores owned by Nieman Marcus, Belk, TJX, Sears Holdings, and Burlington have also dropped products from Ivanka’s company. White House Press Secretary Correspondent Sean Spicer said it was a direct attack on President Trump’s policies and Ivanka’s name, however, all companies have denounced these rumors by explaining the poor sale performance of Ivanka’s company merchandise. One of these companies, HSN Inc. also dropped Trump Home products but continues to sell President Trump’s merchandise as it is positively effecting their current seasonal sales. Senior White House Advisor Kellyanne Conway promoted Ivanka’s brand name in an interview with Fox News by stating, “I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody.” Conway’s remarks have received criticism for violating federal ethics rule which prohibits executive branch employees from using their job to endorse products or private benefits for friends, however, in this case there is a conflict of interest since she was endorsing her boss’s daughter’s private business. Conway has received counseling on the matter by President Trump but further action has not been taken.

Trump’s first 100 days in office have been some of the most exciting, yet anxious, times during presidential inaugurations. Looking back, one of Trump’s arguments during the election was how his new economic policy would create more jobs in America, which would eventually benefit the U.S. and therefore he global economy. As he has persuaded companies such as Ford, GM, and IBM to relocate jobs to American soil, the President’s radical actions and behavior within the public eye has caused controversy and extreme opposition towards President Trump. Major retail stores dropping Ivanka’s brand name for their stores during Trump’s first 100 days in office can reasonably be viewed as backlash towards the President but these stores are looking at the 26 percent decline of online sales for Ivanka’s brand products so far in the first quarter of 2017. There was also a previous decline in the last quarter of 2016 in platforms such as Amazon, which is the primary source of Ivanka’s brand product sales. It is important for President Trump to realize that the companies dropping Ivanka’s merchandise are not targeting the President and that the sales decline is in response to the extreme opposition portrayed by a significant portion of the U.S. consumer demand. Therefore, it is completely rational for any company to drop a product with a gradually declining consumer demand, which President Trump might understand as he himself has managed a successful company.

This stream of companies dropping products involved with the brand name “Trump” may start to become a trend throughout the year and beyond. As much as President Trump is doing to alter and strengthen our domestic economic policy, he is going to have to realize that there are many consumers who do not support him and will lose interest if the Trump name is associated with certain products. President Trump can potentially persuade these companies in reordering Ivanka’s products but only if he implements domestic policies that are more sociably acceptable.