On Sunday night, a photo that seemed to be a new advertisement for both Trump Tower Manila and the Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry Collection went viral on Twitter, eliciting thousands of retweets and responses.
The image — posted by Peter Brack, a venture capitalist based in Los Angeles — drew ire from eagle-eyed users who spotted the Trump jewelry ad at the bottom of the billboard, beneath the image of the first daughter.
Assistant to POTUS models in an ad for POTUS's new Tower in Manila. President of Philippines just got WH invite. pic.twitter.com/zEDxTkGN17
— Peter Brack (@peterbrack) May 1, 2017
While the tweeted photo would present what some might call a conflict of interest between POTUS and his family’s businesses and their roles in government, the snapshot is actually at least five years old, according to a statement the Trump Organization provided: “This is an old photo. The developer of Trump Tower in Manila has confirmed that this particular billboard was removed several years ago.”
The statement provided is in sync with recent news that Ivanka Trump’s Fine Jewelry Collection has been discontinued, and will instead take the form of a more affordable line.
But the timing of the mistaken tweet was awkward, to say the least, as President Trump, on Apr. 30, invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to the White House to “discuss the importance of the United States-Philippines alliance,” despite condemnation from human rights groups who take issue with the Filipino president’s orders that those suspected of drug-related crimes be killed, and also with his “toxic reputation.” This is in addition to the fact that Ivanka Trump’s apparel business has seen increased global sales — including in the Philippines, where the president’s adviser has filed new trademarks.
Even though the advertisement is years old, there are still concerns about the apparent conflicts of interest of President Trump and his daughter. On April 27, Congressman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sent a letter to the Office of Government Ethics, pleading with the committee to investigate Ivanka Trump and urging her to divest completely from her businesses — worth $50,000,000 — according to the letter.
As for the original tweet, Brack conceded that the photo was old, but stood by his original point. “Tower has now been built — however the principle is still the same,” he responded, noting with one word his concern over the law that bars a sitting president from receiving additional income: “Emoluments.”
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Alexandra Mondalek is a writer for Yahoo Style + Beauty. Follow her on Twitter @amondalek.