Another tweet by Donald Trump has caused a ruckus back in Washington (I am in Guam for a speech). Trump took after Nordstrom for dropping the Ivanka brand. While the store cited poor sales, Trump tweeted “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” Shares for the store chain dropped in value following the tweet and media began calling to ask for the legality of such criticism by the president. The answer is that it is perfectly legal . . . just ask Harry Truman. While the scope of executive privilege is broad, it is not nearly as broad and plenary as that of inherent parental authority. When it comes to a president and his daughter, history has shown that this is one power exercised by all fathers that is accorded sweeping deference and little judicial review.
If you think the Trump tweet was raw consider Truman’s letter to Washington Post music critic Paul Hume after Hume panned the performance of Margaret Truman. Hume wrote that “Miss Truman cannot sign very well.” Comparing Hume to columnist Westbrook Pegler (who Truman previously called a “rat,” Truman proceeded to say that he wanted to punch Hume in the nose and would likely kick the “frustrated old man” in the groin. Hume was 34 at the time.
I’ve just read your lousy review of Margaret’s concert. I’ve come to the conclusion that you are an “eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay.”
It seems to me that you are a frustrated old man who wishes he could have been successful. When you write such poppy-cock as was in the back section of the paper you work for it shows conclusively that you’re off the beam and at least four of your ulcers are at work.
Some day I hope to meet you. When that happens you’ll need a new nose, a lot of beefsteak for black eyes, and perhaps a supporter below!
Pegler, a gutter snipe, is a gentleman alongside you. I hope you’ll accept that statement as a worse insult than a reflection on your ancestry.
That makes the Trump tweet look pretty mild in comparison.