One day after President-elect Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka spoke to "60 Minutes” about her father's rise to power, her jewelry line alerted journalists to a surprising fact: The incoming first daughter was wearing an Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry-brand bracelet, which could be bought for $10,800.
It was the first televised interview with the new commander in chief of a deeply anxious America. Part of the segment included members of his family. But it was also, for the Trump company, an undeniable promotional opportunity. The 18-karat Metropolis diamond bangle, a gold version of which sold for $8,800, was Ivanka's “favorite bangle,” a company vice president told journalists in a “style alert.”
The sales tactic marked one of the first moments since the election during which the Trump companies have sought to use Trump's presidential prominence to boost their private fortunes.
But it may not be the last. Ethics advisers have increasingly voiced concerns over the unprecedented conflicts of interest that could arise from the soon-to-be first family's empire of real estate, luxury goods and licensing deals.
“This will keep a spotlight on the family business, on the members of the family, how they run the business and their interactions with the government,” said Jan Witold Baran, a partner at Washington law firm Wiley Rein. “Family members can create problems all on their own.”
In a statement to The Post, Abigail Klem, president of the Ivanka Trump brand, said the notification about the bracelet “was sent by a well-intentioned marketing employee at one of our companies who was following customary protocol, and who, like many of us, is still making adjustments post-election. We are proactively discussing new policies and procedures with all of our partners going forward.”
Ivanka Trump has said she wants to stay involved in her business and is not interested in an official role in her father's administration. But officials said Friday that Trump would name Ivanka and her siblings to his presidential transition team, guaranteeing his children will have influential roles in deciding the players and policies of Trump's time in office.
The presidential campaign was a ripe time for Trump corporate marketing. In July, Ivanka Trump's fashion line advertised on Twitter that shoppers could buy the dress she wore during her Republican National Convention speech. The websites of Macy's and Nordstrom later that day said the dress was sold out.
In the first months of Trump's campaign, revenue at his palatial Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, nearly doubled, and his book, “Crippled America,” drew in millions of dollars in royalties, financial disclosure filings showed.
Conflict-of-interest laws do not block a president or his family from involving themselves in matters that could boost their private companies' wealth or prominence. But the promotional spots since Trump's electoral victory reveal the many potential entanglements that could influence the businessman's presidency.
Trump has resisted the tradition set by most presidents before him of selling or handing over his assets into a “blind trust” controlled by an independent manager. He said he intends to give control of his companies to Ivanka and his other children, an arrangement that ethics experts say does little to put distance between Trump's presidential decision-making and personal estate.
During the "60 Minutes” interview Sunday, Ivanka Trump sought to maintain her connection to the licensing and merchandising deals she had forged as a businesswoman.
When asked whether she would assume a role in Trump's White House, Ivanka Trump said she would not, adding, “I'm going to be a daughter. But I've said throughout the campaign that I am very passionate about certain issues and I want to fight for them.”
“Wage equality, child care, these are things that are really important to me,” added Ivanka, a Trump company executive vice president who also runs her own lines for clothing, shoes and handbags. “There are a lot of things that I feel really strongly about, but not in a formal administrative capacity.”
Although some Trump companies have faced growing boycotts, Ivanka Trump's brands have gained a generous boost in attention during her father's campaign. The retail site ShopRunner said interest in the Ivanka Trump Collection had exploded in recent months.
Officials and executives with Trump's companies and transition team did not respond to messages Tuesday. But Alan Garten, an executive vice president and general counsel with the Trump Organization, said in September that Trump would take "significant steps to avoid even the appearance of impropriety."
"Every business dealing, every business transaction has been thoroughly scrutinized," Garten added. "If elected, I can imagine that would only increase."
Trump has given no indication how he will handle ongoing litigation against his business interests including, most immediately, a fraud lawsuit against the now-defunct Trump University real-estate seminars that is scheduled to begin in California on Nov. 28.
Trump is also named personally as a defendant in the suit, which alleges that customers who paid for the program were duped by claims that Trump had handpicked seminar instructors.
Trump's lawyers have asked to delay the start of the trial until after his inauguration, citing the "momentous, exceedingly complex" task of building a government and preparing to take office. Lawyers for former Trump University customers have opposed the motion, arguing Trump will only become more busy after he takes office.
U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel — who Trump had criticized during the campaign as biased because of his Mexican heritage — on Tuesday ordered both sides to present their arguments regarding the delay at a hearing on Friday.
Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump's fiercest surrogates, defended Trump's conflict-of-interest decisions on Sunday, saying that following the traditions of past presidents would unfairly penalize the Trump family.
"He would basically put his children out of work if — and they'd have to go start a whole new business, and that would set up the whole — set up new problems," Giuliani told CNN. "It's kind of unrealistic to say you're going to take the business away from the three people who are running it and give it to some independent person. And remember, they can't work in the government because of the government rule against nepotism. So you would be putting them out of work."
Trump's globe-spanning network of business interests has sparked new questions over the independence of his domestic policy-making and foreign negotiations. Trump companies are partially indebted to major banks in Germany and China, and Trump wrote in financial-disclosure filings that he is involved in more than 500 companies, some of them found in diplomatically sensitive countries such as Azerbaijan and Saudi Arabia.
Trump’s company recently opened the Trump International Hotel a few blocks from the White House in Washington’s Old Post Office Pavilion, a building leased from the federal government. That means Trump could serve as both the building's landlord and tenant, overseeing the federal office that manages the lease and benefiting from federal tax credits given to preserve its historic character.
The General Services Administration, which manages the building and other federal properties, "plans to coordinate with the President-elect’s transition team to allow a path to be put in place to identify and address any potential conflict of interest relating to the Old Post Office building," press secretary Ashley Nash-Hahn said Tuesday.
Some have also questioned whether Trump could ever truly separate his reality-TV fame from his presidential ambitions. Vanity Fair reported in June that Trump had spoken with TV executives over the possibility of starring in "The Apprentice" during his time in the Oval Office. The campaign did not comment on that report.
Staff writer Rosalind Helderman contributed to this report.