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Trump aide Kellyanne Conway 'counseled' for touting Ivanka Trump products

The White House says presidential aide Kellyanne Conway has been "counseled" after she made remarks promoting products from President Donald Trump's daughter. One Republican congressman is calling for further measures.

Whitehouse spokesman Sean Spicer said on Thursday Conway had been counseled over the use of her official position to plug products sold by Ivanka Trump.

Conway, who told an interviewer with broadcaster Fox News that people should "go buy Ivanka's stuff," came in for sharp criticism from both Republicans and Democrats.

Spicer, in a press briefing, said Conway had been advised about her behavior and that the matter had been resolved.

Ivanka und Donald Trump (picture alliance/dpa/S. Thew/Epa)

Trump leapt to defend his daughter, although Nordstrom said the decision was based on sales

"Kellyanne has been counseled and that's all we're going to go with," said Spicer. "She's been counseled on that subject and that's it."

'Free commercial'

After news that the department store Nordstrom had dropped Ivanka Trump's line of clothing and accessories, Conway told Fox that she recommended the brand.

"I hate shopping, and I'm going to go get some myself today," said Conway, with the White House seal seen clearly above her left shoulder. "This is just a wonderful line," she added. "I own some of it. I fully - I'm going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online."

Federal rules prohibit executive branch employees from using positions to endorse products or for the private gain of friends.

'Not a cheerleader'

House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz - a Utah Republican - said that counseling Conway was not enough, claiming what she had done was "wrong, wrong, wrong."

Addressing Utah lawmakers, Chaffetz said, "Of course I'm going to call that out. My job is not to be a cheerleader for the president."

Chaffetz and Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland, also a senior House of Representatives oversight official, on Thursday asked the Office of Government Ethics to review Conway's comments.

The controversy began on Wednesday, with President Donald Trump himself reacting to news that the department store Nordstrom had dropped his daughter's line of clothing and accessories.Although Nordstrom stressed that the decision was based on sales performance, rather than politics, the president launched into a Twitter attack on the retailer.

Conway has had a difficult week after her reference to a non-existent "Bowling Green massacre" in an MSNBC appearance, which was widely ridiculed online. 

rc/gsw (AP, Reuters, AFP)
 

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