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Donald Trump blasts department store Nordstrom for dropping Ivanka's line, raising new concern on business ties

Donald Trump shakes daughter Ivanka's hand

US President Donald Trump's Twitter attack on Nordstrom for dropping his daughter Ivanka's clothing line has raised concerns about the use of his White House platform for his family's businesses.

In response to the Twitter comment Mr Trump posted criticising the department store, White House spokesman Sean Spicer characterised the company's action as a "direct attack" on the president's policies.

"My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!" Mr Trump tweeted.

It was re-tweeted more than 6,000 times in less than an hour, including from the official, taxpayer-funded @POTUS account.

Nordstrom shares dropped 0.7 per cent after the tweet but later recovered to trade up 3.7 per cent on the New York Stock Exchange.

Nordstrom said its decision to drop Ivanka Trump branded merchandise from its stores and online was based on the brand's performance.

"Over the past year, and particularly in the last half of 2016, sales of the brand have steadily declined to the point where it didn't make good business sense for us to continue with the line for now."

Nordstrom said it informed Ivanka Trump about its decision in early January.

A day after Nordstrom's statement, luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group also said it had stopped selling Ivanka Trump's jewellery line on its website and a store in New Jersey, according to Yahoo News.

The move by the retailers comes amid an ongoing campaign called #GrabYourWallet, which encourages shoppers to boycott products with ties to President Trump, his family and his donors.

'Totally inappropriate': Democrats flag ethics office

The President's comments underscore the complicated relationship that the wealthy New York real estate developer has with his sprawling family business interests amid criticism from Democrats and others about the ethics and legality of the arrangement.

During a White House briefing, Mr Spicer painted Nordstrom's action as an attack on the President's daughter.

"For someone to take out their concern with his policies on a family member of his is just not acceptable — the President has every right as a father to stand up to them," Mr Spicer said.

Ivanka Trump ran a clothing and jewellery business bearing her name, in addition to other work for the Trump Organisation, before saying she would resign when her father was sworn in as president last month.

A spokeswoman for the Ivanka Trump brand declined to comment.

The Republican President's complaint, however, drew swift criticism from Democrats.

US House of Representatives' minority leader Nancy Pelosi said the tweet was inappropriate, but that it was typical of Mr Trump.

"I think it's inappropriate, but he's a totally inappropriate President, so it's totally in keeping with who he is," Ms Pelosi said.

"What I think is more inappropriate, though, is for him to refer to a judge who made a ruling that he didn't agree with as a 'so-called judge'. Now we're talking about the separation of power, not the thin skin of an incompetent president," she said.

Senator Bob Casey, a Democrat, in a tweet indicated that the matter should be referred to the Office of Government Ethics.

The President has declined to sell off his businesses despite calls to do so from critics, instead turning his empire over to his adult sons.

Mr Trump's web of international companies remains a bit opaque since he has refused to release his tax returns, which experts have said would provide a clearer view of his business interests.

Since winning the US presidential election on November 8, Mr Trump has targeted specific companies on Twitter. But this is his first tweet criticising a business tied to his family since the victory.

It is also not the first time Mr Trump's tweets have at least temporarily affected a stock.

US carmakers, Boeing and Carrier have also suffered after his comments on Twitter.