Ivanka Trump has no trouble using her government role to promote her brand — or as an excuse to avoid ongoing legal troubles.
Ivanka Trump followed her father to the White House, consistent with Trump family tradition, and both have consistently used their positions for personal gain. Among her most creative abuses of her role — also consistent with Trump family tradition — is her effort to use her White House role to escape legal accountability.
Her latest brush with the law stems from an “Ivanka Trump”-emblazoned shoe suspiciously similar to one designed and manufactured by competitor Aquazzura.
The conflict and subsequent lawsuit began before her government role, meaning Ivanka was still at the helm when her brand ignored a cease-and-desist letter — and when Aquazzura filed suit against her brand in federal court in June 2016.
But now that she’s in the White House, she claims she can’t be involved in subsequent settlement proceedings because “The burden of a deposition of Ms. Trump would far outweigh any likely benefit to Aquazzura.”
Ivanka is, as her refusal noted, a “high ranking government official,” and therefore, she claims, should be exempt from deposition. Never mind, of course, that Ivanka also refused to divest and retains veto power over her brand’s deals.
The judge wasn’t having it. Her reply? Nice try. Aquazzura alleges Ivanka’s personal involvement in the events at issue, the judge noted, which means she cannot avoid a deposition. And if it goes to trial, Ivanka might even have to testify.
This may be the first time Ivanka’s attempt to play the White House as carte blanche has failed. She’s been sidestepping accountability for cruel labor practices in the factories her organization uses for months, hiding behind her lawyer’s claim that she “has been advised that she cannot ask the government to act in an issue involving the brand in any way, constraining her ability to intervene personally.”
And she has ignored even the most heartbreaking pleas. When the wife of one of three activists detained for investigating labor abuses at a Trump-linked factory begged Ivanka to make a public statement to “save the entire family,” she did not speak up.
Ivanka’s silence, and her father’s, was all the more devastating given that, according to the director of China Labor Watch and post-release statements from detainees, they were targeted because “this is Ivanka Trump’s factory.”
That’s quite a riddle: What high-ranking White House role doesn’t involve politics or advising but also makes a deposition an unreasonable burden?
The notable exception to Ivanka’s legal allergy lies with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s influence. Anticipating that her efforts to dodge the special counsel’s crosshairs were destined to fail, Ivanka and husband Jared Kushner rushed to lawyer up in July.
Despite her best efforts, it seems likely Ivanka will be spending a great deal more time with lawyers, and maybe even in court, in the future.