Ivanka Trump announced Tuesday afternoon that she would be shutting down her eponymous fashion and accessories line, effective immediately. “After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business, but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington,” she said in a statement.
In other words, Ivanka Trump, who had no political experience before her father’s run for president, is now officially throwing her entire lot in with her father.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise. For a long time, the idea existed that Ivanka Trump was somehow independent of Donald Trump. She was a successful entrepreneur and businesswoman, one whose advice and council her father supposedly respected. When she and her husband, Jared Kushner, announced they would accompany the senior Trump to Washington, many thought she would be a moderating influence, speaking up for the rights and women and children and minorities.
Those who held out such hopes should have known better. The daughter has always been intricately tied to the father’s less than ethical and honest business practices. The state of New York has sued her — along with her father and brothers Eric and Donald Jr. — for “persistently illegal conduct” at the president’s charitable foundation. Her involvement in Trump real estate projects in New York City and Vancouver raised further questions about her ethics and financial dealings.
As for her corporate brand, Ivanka attempted to have her cake and eat it too. She went through the motions of minimizing conflicts by putting the company in a trust, but in fact she frequently wore her own brand in publicly released photos. Kellyanne Conway shilled for her line on Fox & Friends. And the trust still called for Ivanka Trump to approve, as the New York Times wrote, “major decisions made by the company, including striking new licensing partnerships and overseas deals.” This arrangement aroused no small amount of comment, especially when Ivanka Trump’s company more than once received Chinese trademarks in what can only be described as suspicious timing. (In 2017, several trademarks were granted the same day she grabbed a bite with Chinese government officials including President Xi Jinping. This year they came amid the Trump administrations battle with China over tariffs, and right about the time the president began to speak up on behalf of a Chinese telecommunications firm banned from doing business with American companies for seven years due to security concerns.)
But it turns out that Donald Trump maybe wasn’t so great for Ivanka Trump’s business after all. As the younger Trump became more tied to an administration that separated migrant children from their parents at the Mexico border and showered tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans while giving the vast majority scraps, the fashion line’s sales fell. The company isn’t public and doesn’t release financial results, but we know Nordstrom’s ceased carrying the brand last year, citing a sales drop-off, and market researcher Rakuten Intelligence reports sales of the brand dropped by almost half over the past year at a number of retailers.
Ivanka Trump’s line was pitched at Millennial women. As a group, they don’t much care for the Trump administration or its policies. Ivanka Trump might try to play a to-the-manor-born Sheryl Sandberg on TV, but she’s, in fact, no such thing. Her company’s success was always dependent on what the Trump name could deliver. She acknowledged as much in a 2013 interview: “We’re a family company. We’re a family brand,” she told the New York Times. “I made a specific choice not to call my collection Ivanka. There’s so much value in the Trump name.”
So now she’s looking to find value in that name elsewhere. Ivanka Trump is completely wrapped up with her father and his policies — not that anyone should have expected a different outcome. The idea that she would somehow counter the racist inclinations and Gilded Age economic policies promoted by the Trump administration is a myth that could only flourish in a country where we so firmly believe in the idea of individual success, we ignore the implications of the nepotism staring us in the face.