On Friday, a CNN New Day panel was skeptical of the idea that Pres. Donald Trump’s senior aide Kellyanne Conway might have been joking when she urged people to rush out and buy apparel from Ivanka Trump’s failing fashion line.
“Wrong, wrong,” said Norman Eisen after panelist Salena Zito said that the flap about Conway’s remarks is misplaced because the former Trump campaign manager was probably joking.
“What Kellyanne Conway did, by the letter of the law, was wrong,” Zito said. “Having said that, if you watch the clip, it’s clear that she’s joking. And it’s also clear from the way she’s answering. She did not, to my estimation, go on there and be, like, ‘I am totally plugging her line.'”
She went on, “It appears to be a throw-away line. It’s clear that she was joking back and forth.”
“As a matter of law, it was a clear violation,” said CNN political director David Chalian. “This is a team and an operation that is not running on all cylinders, that has not fully jelled yet, a few weeks into this administration.”
Eisen — a co-founder of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) — said, “It is Ethics 101 that you do not get on television and plug a business.”
“She didn’t,” said New Day host Chris Cuomo. “She was joking.”
“She was at best half-joking,” Eisen said. “Even [Republican Utah Sen.] Jason Chaffetz, who refuses to look at emoluments, even Jason Chaffetz said it was a clear violation.”
“Here’s why it matters,” he explained. “I would agree that if this were an isolated incident, let it go. But it’s not. It’s part of this enormous Trump effort to capitalize on the presidency, to make millions. And that is wrong. She’s just following her boss.”
Watch the video, embedded below: