Stephen Miller says Kellyanne Conway's endorsement of Ivanka Trump's brand was 'light-hearted'

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WASHINGTON, Feb 12 (Reuters) - A top aide to U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday defended his colleague, Kellyanne Conway, after she was widely criticized for her public endorsement of the fashion line of Trump's daughter, Ivanka.

Speaking on ABC's "This Week" program, White House aide Stephen Miller said Trump adviser Conway was making a "light-hearted, flippant" comment when she urged Americans to buy Ivanka Trump's products.

Conway's comments prompted criticism from both Republican and Democratic lawmakers, as well as some legal experts who said she may have violated ethics rules that prohibit using a public office to endorse products or advance personal business gains.

In comments to the Associated Press last week, Republican Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight committee, said Conway's statement was "clearly over the line, unacceptable."

RELATED: Companies that still sell Ivanka Trump's brand

19 PHOTOS
Companies that still sell Ivanka Trump's brand
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Companies that still sell Ivanka Trump's brand

Macy's

Products the brand still carries: clothing, jewelry, handbags

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Getty 

Bloomingdales

Products the brand still carries: shoes & handbags

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Reuters

Dillard's

Products the brand still carries: clothing & accessories

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Getty

Zappos

Products the brand still carries: shoes, clothing, handbags

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Getty

Amazon

Products the brand still carries: shoes, clothing, home

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Reuters

Lord & Taylor

Products the brand still carries: clothing, jewelry, handbags

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Bed Bath & Beyond 

Products the brand still carries: diaper bags

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Getty

Hudson's Bay

Products the brand still carries: clothing & accessories 

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Getty

DSW

Products the store sells: shoes

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org 

Photo credit: Reuters

Overstock

Products the brand still carries: shoes & clothing

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Getty

Ross

Products the brand still carries: clothing

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Reuters

Saks off 5th

Products the brand still carries: clothing, jewelry, handbags

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Getty

Sears

Products the brand still carries: home furnishings, clothing, shoes

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org 

Photo credit: Reuters

Walmart

Products the brand still carries: shoes, clothing, fragrance

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Getty

Century 21 Department Store

Products the brand still carries: shoes & clothing

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org

Photo credit: Getty

Bon-Ton

Products the brand still carries: clothing

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org 

Photo credit: Getty

Buy Buy Baby 

Products the brand still carries: shoes & accessories 

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org 

Photo credit: Getty

Filene's Basement 

Products the brand still carries: shoes & limited clothing

*Information courtesy of grabyourwallet.org 

Photo credit: Getty

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Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the same committee, said on Sunday that Miller's characterization of Conway's remarks was incorrect. "This was a textbook case of a violation of the law," he said on "This Week."

Cummings said he was troubled by the fact that Trump is the authority who will ultimately decide how to punish Conway, if at all, after the Office of Government Ethics issues its recommendation on the matter.

Conway made the comments after retailer Nordstrom said it would stop selling Ivanka Trump's clothing line, a move that had prompted a tweet from the president blasting Nordstrom.

SEE ALSO: 'We all have this suspicion — he lies a lot': Al Franken suggests some GOP senators worry about Trump's mental health

Nordstrom said it had made the decision to drop the brand because sales had steadily declined, especially in the last half of 2016, to where carrying the line "didn't make good business sense."

Nordstrom shares initially fell after the president's criticism last Wednesday, but closed up 4 percent on the New York Stock Exchange that day.

On Saturday, a spokesman for major U.S. retailers Sears and Kmart said they had removed 31 Trump Home items from their online product offerings in order to focus on more profitable merchandise.

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