[T]he Office of Government Ethics prohibits executive officials from using their position to endorse an organization, product or person. While this regulation technically does not apply to the president, President Barack Obama put in place a White House policy that expanded it to also apply to the Oval Office.So Trump tweeted to counter the effect of a call for a boycott that aimed at hurting someone who'd supported Trump. That's a surgical strike — undoing a harm.
"We strictly forbade this when I was in the White House for the President and everyone else,” Norm Eisen, Obama's former ethics czar, told POLITICO. “How can you ask others to follow it if he doesn’t?”
Trump urged supporters to patronize L.L.Bean after the retailer’s founder’s granddaughter, Linda Bean, illegally donated to a PAC supporting Trump, leading to calls for a boycott. (Her $60,000 donation exceeded the amount that the PAC could accept from any one contributor.)
"People will support you even more now,” Trump said before encouraging Americans to snap up the company’s preppy products.
I hadn't realized Presidents couldn't express love of particular products and encourage people to share his pleasure. Back in the 80s, the news media often talked of Reagan and his jelly beans. Here's how the Reagan Library presents is:
When Ronald Reagan ran for Governor of California in 1966, he began eating “Goelitz Mini Jelly Beans” as part of his successful attempt to give up pipe smoking. Herman Goelitz Candy Company, the Oakland-based producer of the jelly beans, sent a monthly shipment to the Governor’s Office throughout Reagan’s two terms in Sacramento. The company also made a custom-designed jelly bean jar for Reagan.Now, Reagan seems to have really liked Jelly Belly jelly beans. There's no reason to think Trump has an independent and personal love for L.L. Bean products. He's helping out someone who helped him politically. If you continued down that road, campaign donations could work as tit for tat. Pay money and get a product endorsement from the man.
After Reagan left the governorship, he continued to receive shipments of Goelitz Mini Gourmet Jelly Beans directly from the company. When Herman Goelitz introduced its Jelly Belly brand of jelly beans in 1976, it began including the new brand in Reagan’s regular shipment. Within two years, the shipment consisted entirely of the Jelly Belly brand.
Three and a half tons of red, white, and blue Jelly Belly jelly beans were shipped to Washington, DC for the 1981 Inaugural festivities. Blueberry, one of Jelly Belly brand’s most popular flavors, was developed in 1980. Its blue color completed the other flag colored Jelly Belly jelly beans, the red (Very Cherry) and white (Coconut).
Herman Goelitz Candy Company provided the Reagan White House with Jelly Belly jelly beans for all eight years of Reagan’s presidency. In February 1981 Herman G. Rowland, the president of Herman Goelitz and a fourth-generation descendant of the company’s founders, received official Government authorization to develop a Jelly Belly jelly bean jar with the Presidential Seal on it. These Presidential jars of Jelly Belly beans, each in its own blue gift box, were given by Reagan to heads of state, diplomats, and many other White House guests.
President Reagan’s favorite Jelly Belly flavor was licorice.
By the way, does Donald Trump ever go camping or hiking or do anything outdoorsy that might go with L.L. Bean products? The only outdoor activity I picture him doing — other than walking between a building and a car or a car and a plane — is golf. Have we ever had a less outdoorsy President?