On Sunday Donald Trump announced that this coming week is “Made in America” week. Meanwhile, his daughter Ivanka is under fire yet again for outsourcing her clothing line to overseas sweatshops.
The GOP’s president likely hopes to turn attention away from all the pesky prying into his Russian ties and address the labor issues near and dear to his supporters.
ABC News reports Donald Trump made his “Made in America” Week announcement at a hotel near his golf club in Bedminster, N.J. where he was hosting a tournament.
The White House’s media affairs director Helen Aguirre Ferre told reporters explained that Made in America Week will put U.S. workers in the spotlight.
“For too long our government has forgotten the American worker. Their interests were pushed aside for global projects and their wealth was taken from the communities and shipped overseas. Under the leadership of President Donald Trump, not only will the American worker never be forgotten, but they will be championed.”
Ferre’s statement makes some good points. Thanks to the “new economy” and decades worth of trade agreements, our nation’s workers are now forced to compete for jobs against desperately poor workers in developing countries who are willing to work brutal hours in unsafe conditions for a pittance.
But if Donald Trump is sincere about his “Made in America” week blather, he should start by laying down the law with his own daughter. As he scolds U.S. companies for sending jobs abroad, Ivanka Trump’s company makes bank on the backs of abused low-wage workers.
On Friday The Washington Post ran a scathing report on the Ivanka brand’s reliance on sweatshops in Bangladesh, Indonesia, and China. And unlike others in the fashion industry who now set stronger rules for safety and fairness for their contractors, the Ivanka brand cheerfully takes what The Washington Post calls “a more hands-off approach.”
And while Ivanka Trump published a book this spring declaring that improving the lives of working women is “my life’s mission,” The Post found that her company lags behind many in the apparel industry when it comes to monitoring the treatment of the largely female workforce employed in factories around the world.
Ivanka’s stepped back from her company but still owns it while her second-in-command Abigail Klem runs it. And when WAPO asked Klem about the brand’s sweatshop problem, she just spewed forth some frothy fluff on “empowerment” for women.
“The mission of this brand has always been to inspire and empower women to create the lives they want to live and give them tools to do that. We’re looking to ensure that we can sort of live this mission from top to bottom with our licensees, with our supply chain.”
But getting arrested for investigating Ivanka Trump’s factories to see how workers are treated — as an earlier story from The Washington Post reports happened to three men in China — while the Chinese government gifts the Trumps with more licenses doesn’t seem very “empowering.”
ABC News points out that many scoff at the GOP’s president’s “Made in America” schtick. After all, he, too, sells products made abroad on the cheap. But when their reporter asked whether the Trump’s companies would start making more products here in America, Helen Aguirre Ferre muttered, “Well get back to you on that.”