Updated on February 9 at 5:59 p.m.
Sturm und drang, the German Romantic movement of the 19th century, contains—as Merriam-Webster defines it—“rousing action and high emotionalism that often deal with the individual's revolt against society.” The U.S. might today be involved in what might fairly be called Nordstrom und drang, a period of rousing tweets and high emotionalism that deals with the administration’s revolt against society’s conflict of interest rules.
The saga began when the retailer announced it was cutting ties with Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. The president, who evidently doesn’t have much else to do with his time, fired back on Twitter:
My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person -- always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017
Federal law prohibits a government employee from using “his public office for his own private gain or for that of persons or organizations with which he is associated personally. An employee's position or title should not be used to coerce; to endorse any product, service or enterprise; or to give the appearance of governmental sanction.” But as Trump never tires of pointing out, the president is exempt from these laws, meaning he’s off the hook. (Norm Eisen, a former top ethics lawyer to President Obama who has been a frequent critic of Trump’s conflicts of interest, suggested that Nordstrom could, however, sue Trump under state laws against unfair business acts.)