On the exact same day that Chinese President Xi Jinping was visiting on an official state visit at Mar-a-Lago, and dining with Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner, she received provisional trademark approval to sell jewelry, bags, and spa services in China.
In all, Ivanka won approval for three new trademarks – and it gives her monopoly rights to sell the items in the world’s second-largest economy. Meeting with foreign leaders while your dad is President of the United States sure has its benefits.
Talk about coincidence?
Not only does this look really bad but it goes against the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution which “restricts members of the government from receiving gifts, emoluments, office or titles from foreign states without the consent of the United States Congress.”
We’re pretty sure getting a trademark approval is a pretty nice gift.
Her daughter, Arabella Kushner, who is only five years old, and President Trump’s granddaughter, also sang an adorable song in Mandarin for President Jinping which quickly went viral in China, gaining over two million views. This is perhaps the only adorable part of the meeting.
The response from Ivanka’s lawyer Jamie Gorelick was less than adequate, however:
“Ivanka will not weigh in on business strategy, marketing issues, or the commercial terms of agreements,” and that Ivanka and Jared will be sure to “steer clear of specific areas that could impact her business, or be seen as conflicts of interest.”
Ivanka claims that she has taken steps to separate herself from her business, but former chief White House ethics lawyer Norman Eisen, who served under President Obama, disagrees. He says he would never have allowed Ivanka at the table with the Chinese president – while she had a trademark patent pending.
“Ivanka has so many China ties and conflicts, yet she and Jared appear deeply involved in China contacts and policy. I would never have allowed it. For their own sake, and the country’s, Ivanka and Jared should consider stepping away from China matters.”
Richard Painter, who served in the same role under George W. Bush, agreed with Eisen.
“Put the business on hold and stop trying to get trademarks while you’re in government.”
So, then, why does Trump’s White House ethics lawyer allow it to happen?
Ivanka’s lawyer says that Ivanka will try step out of the room whenever any specific area of trade policy involving her business is discussed, but that general trade discussions shouldn’t be a problem.
This still doesn’t explain why she received three patents on the same day as President Jinping’s visit. She is directly profiting off of her newfound role in government. She’s not only President Trump’s daughter but she also occupies an official office in the West Wing – as does her husband. She is a registered government official. The emoluments clause of the Constitution applies to her. She’s not above the law.