By almost all accounts, Ivanka Trump is a thoughtful and welcomed dissenting opinion in her father’s White House. She certainly is a successful businesswoman who at least claims to be moving the presidential needle when it comes to women’s issues. Yet with revelations of near slave labor in the Chinese factory where clothes for her fashion line are made, there is question about whether she is exploiting her position to enrich herself at the expense of the women she claims to care about.
Ivanka rightly elicited some sympathy when she was booed and hissed at while participating in a panel about women’s issues in Germany. She was invited by Prime Minister Angela Merkel.
“I do label myself a feminist and I think about that in very broad terms,” Ivanka told the German audience. “I think of that as believing in the social, political and economic equality for all genders.” But for the Chinese workers who make her clothes? Not so much.
The Fair Labor Association, an industry group, did an inspection of the Chinese company that makes clothes for the Ivanka Trump line. The group found two dozen violations of international labor standards during a two-day tour of the factory in October, saying in a report that workers faced daunting hours, high turnover, and pay near or below China’s minimum wage, reported the Washington Post.
The Post reported that the inspection showed workers at the factory worked nearly 60 hours a week to earn wages of little more than $62 a week. The factory audit was released Monday.
First, the daughter of the “America First” president has her clothing line made in China. Second, the factory is a sweatshop and third, the Trump family is obliterating the Emoluments Clause for the president.
There certainly questions about Ivanka’s Chinese connections. She has extensive and documented business interests in China and one wonders whether that affected the president’s change tone in relation to the communist country. Trump consistently slammed China during the campaign, calling them a currency manipulator and even questioning the long-established “one China” policy could be changed.
Ivanka herself has scored some important business victories in China. The Washington Post puts the pieces together. “On February 1, she and her five-year-old daughter, Arabella Kushner, showed up as surprise guests at the Chinese Embassy near the end of its evening New Year’s reception celebrating the year of the rooster. The next morning, Ivanka posted a video of Arabella, playing with a traditional Chinese marionette, while she was singing a song in Mandarin she had learned … Seven days later, on February 8, a letter from President Trump was hand delivered to the Chinese wishing China ‘a prosperous Year of the Rooster’ and adding that he looked forward to ‘develop a constructive relationship’ with President Xi. The next day, February 9, in a late evening phone call to Xi, Trump walked back his previous comments and said the U.S. would continue to honor the ‘One China’ policy.” Coincidence? You decide.
The AP reports, “April 6, Ivanka’s company won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks, giving it monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world’s second-largest economy. That same night, the first daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, sat next to the president of China and his wife for a steak and Dover sole dinner at Mar-a-Lago.”
It’s only a matter of time before this house of cards comes tumbling down.