clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The US president is attacking Nordstrom for dropping his daughter's fashion line

Libby Nelson is Vox's policy editor, leading coverage of how government action and inaction shape American life. Libby has more than a decade of policy journalism experience, including at Inside Higher Ed and Politico. She joined Vox in 2014.

Nordstrom is no longer carrying Ivanka Trump’s fashion collection in stores — and President Donald Trump isn’t happy about it, lashing out at the retailer in a tweet saying she has been treated “so unfairly”:

Then the @POTUS account — the official Twitter account of the president of the United States — retweeted it.

After several observers noted that Ivanka Trump’s label was disappearing from Nordstrom’s website, the department store confirmed February 2 that it was dropping the Ivanka Trump line because sales weren’t up to par: “Based on the brand’s performance, we’ve decided not to buy it for this season,” a spokesperson told Racked.

This isn’t the first time Trump (or someone tweeting under his name — the tweet was sent from an iPhone, not the Android phone Trump usually uses) has lashed out at an individual business for decisions he didn’t like. But it is the first time he’s done it with a clear financial, as well as personal, stake in the outcome.

Ivanka Trump’s clothing, shoes, and jewelry lines are part of the Trump Organization, Trump’s business empire. Trump’s sons, Eric Trump and Donald Trump Jr., are supposed to be running the business while Trump is in office. But he hasn’t sold his stake in the company, which means that he’ll continue to profit from it while in office. Nordstrom’s decision isn’t just an insult to Ivanka, according to Trump. It’s also damaging to him personally.

Since the election, Trump has frequently used Twitter to either praise or attack companies for the decisions they’ve made — including tweets aimed at Carrier, Boeing, and Toyota. Those tweets have real consequences, including drops in a company’s share price (Nordstrom stock dropped slightly after Trump’s tweet but quickly rebounded). The presidential pressure has also led companies to change policies, sometimes more than symbolically. Ford canceled a planned expansion in Mexico after Trump tweeted angrily about it, saying it would keep jobs in the US instead.

But while some brands have buckled under political pressure, others have decided that the smart move — given the demographics and political preferences of the young customers they covet — is to go against the Trump tide.

Given that a movement called for boycotts of both Trump brands and the stores that carry them, even if Nordstrom’s decision was motivated by business concerns, it’s hard to fully divorce the business landscape from politics. Ivanka Trump’s target audience — younger, educated women with disposable income — voted for Hillary Clinton in November, not her father. Nordstrom might decide it can’t afford to anger Trump voters. Or it might decide, given that its stores are mostly located in blue states, it can’t afford to buckle.