Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of President Donald Trump, received approval for Chinese trademarks on her product line the same day she met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
According to the Associated Press, Ivanka was granted the trademark rights April 6 to sell her self-named brand of jewelry, bags and spa services in China, the world's second-largest economy. That same night, she and her husband Jared Kushner, one of Trump's top advisers, met with Jinping for a steak dinner at the president's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach, Florida.
The timing of the trademark grants, which are known to be difficult to get in China, and the meeting has been used by critics of President Trump as circumstantial evidence that the Trump family is profiting off the presidency.
"Put the business on hold and stop trying to get trademarks while you're in government," said Richard Painter, a former White House ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush, told the AP.
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As Ivanka appears to become a more important figure in her father's administration, Painter suggested that she separate herself from issues that affect her product line, such as trade relations with China.
"The danger is that with any discussion with the Chinese, one party or the other may try to bring up trade," he said. "That's a slippery slope that may require her or Jared to step out of the room."
Painter has previously alleged that the president is in violation of the Emoluments Clause, a constitutional clause that prohibits a sitting U.S. president from using the office for personal gain, according to NPR.
But that could prove to be difficult due to the broadness of Ivanka's business dealings and some argue she should completely separate herself from her father's administration.
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"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," said Norman Eisen, the former chief White House ethics lawyer under former President Barack Obama. "For their own sake, and the country's, Ivanka and Jared should consider stepping away from China matters."
Ivanka's attorney, Jamie Gorelick, said she has separated herself from aspects of her business that could pose ethics concerns.
"Ivanka will not weigh in on business strategy, marketing issues, or the commercial terms of agreements," Gorelick said in a statement. "She has retained authority to direct the trustees to terminate agreements that she determines create a conflict of interest or the appearance of one."