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President Donald Trump hit back at Nordstrom on Twitter on Wednesday morning after the retailer said it wasn't buying his daughter Ivanka's clothing line for this season — a decision Nordstrom said it informed her of in early January.
"My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom," Trump wrote. "She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!"
"This is a direct attack on his policies and her name," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer later said of Nordstrom's move.
The tweet was sent at 10:51 a.m., 21 minutes after the president's daily intelligence briefing was scheduled to start.
Spicer said the president was "free at the time" when he tweeted.
The blowup comes six days after Nordstrom announced that it would not order Ivanka Trump's collection this season. The luxury department store chain denied that the move was in response to a #GrabYourWallet campaign orchestrated to get the stores to stop carrying the Trump brand in protest of her father's policies.
"We made this decision based on performance," a Nordstrom spokesperson told NBC News in an emailed statement. "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.
"We've had a great relationship with the Ivanka Trump team," the spokesperson continued. "We've had open conversations with them over the past year to share what we've seen and Ivanka was personally informed of our decision in early January."
A spokesperson for Ivanka Trump told NBC News that the brand had been selling well and that the move was in response to pressure from advocacy groups — a claim Nordstrom denied.
"This was absolutely not political — it was exclusively based on the performance of the brand," a Nordstrom spokesperson told apparel site Refinery29. "Simply put, the performance has been difficult over the past year."
The retailer also denied that the move was related to an internal memo offering support and resources to employees affected by the president's executive order on immigration sent the day before.
The spokesperson for Ivanka Trump said that although the shoe order had been canceled and the line was pulled from the website, some of the spring collection would still be sold in stores. In a tweet, Nordstrom said customers will still see Ivanka Trump product in stores until it sells out.
Other retailers have recently stepped back from carrying Ivanka Trump's products. Neiman Marcus has stopped selling her jewelry on its website. TJ Maxx instructed employees Wednesday to toss Ivanka Trump signage into the garbage and mix her clothes in with their regular sales racks, The New York Times reported.
Trump's tweet appeared in the middle of a news cycle that has Trump's travel order on majority Muslim countries facing a skeptical federal appeals court. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, and her Democratic colleagues were also catching air time as they objected to Warren's being silenced in a Senate debate.
It will likely draw fresh attention to concerns over potential entanglements between Trump's family businesses and his presidential power.
Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, retweeted Trump, adding "CC: @OfficeGovEthics."
"It's an example of why Donald Trump and his family needed to step away, needed to make a more definitive break, and I think it's an abuse of the office of the presidency," Norman Eisen, former special counsel on ethics in administration of former President Barack Obama, told MSNBC.
"He's putting the bully in the bully pulpit to attack this company on dubious factual assertions in order to promote his daughter," Eisen said.
It's not the first time a single Trump tweet targeting a company has set off a firestorm. He sent Lockheed Martin's stock nose-diving when he tweeted about its F-35 fighter cost overruns, and he told people to go buy L.L. Bean when it drew criticism after the founder's granddaughter donated to one of the political action committees that supported his campaign.
The Trump social media effect is such that in the run-up to his inauguration, companies were recycling previously announced U.S. jobs to avoid his wrath, critics charged, in order to give him something to take credit for and tweet about.
Nordstrom's stock briefly ticked down after the president's tweet, then gained.