Murky waters

Ivanka Trump used a state dinner at Mar-a-Lago to make some serious coin in China

The Boston Globe has revealed that Ivanka Trump was granted highly lucrative personal business favors from Chinese government officials on the same day she dined with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago. We’re sure the two have nothing to do with one another…

Mere hours before she met with Xi, Ivanka’s clothing and accessories business won three new trademarks in China, granting her a monopoly over Ivanka-branded bags, jewelry and spa services. Why anyone would want to exchange actual money for an “Ivanka-branded spa service” is entirely beyond our scope, but that’s hardly the import part of this.

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What should register a bit of worry is that in countries like China where government permits are handed out like highly coveted gift baskets, the already-blurred lines between private enterprise and U.S./foreign relations are now beginning to look like someone spilled a glass of lemonade all over your felt-tip diagram of how the world should work. And we know how hard you worked on that.

We never thought we’d say this, but let’s defer to George W. Bush’s chief White House ethics lawyer, Richard Painter, on this one: “Put the business on hold and stop trying to get trademarks while you’re in government.”

The news opens up yet another ethical can of worms for the Trumps. Can Ivanka, as a White House assistant and advisor to the president, be allowed into conversations relating to China policy that might affect her personal interests in the country?

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We sure know our answer: No!

Norman Eisen, another former ethics lawyer who served under Barack Obama, put it another way: “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.”