A Charitybuzz page auctioning off a coffee date with Ivanka Trump has been taken down with no explanation.
The auction was meant to raise money for St. Jude Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, but quickly received criticism. Given her position as daughter of the incoming president-elect, her involvement on the Trump transition team, and her potential role as First Lady, many pointed out that the Ivanka Trump was essentially auctioning off White House influence to the highest bidder.
Indeed, a New York Times report showed several wealthy figures were less concerned with charity, and instead wanted to speak with a Trump about their personal political issues.
Despite the ethical problems with the auction, the page was up for ten days and racked up a bid of over $70,000 before it was deleted suddenly. Based on the Times report, it’s likely the Trumps asked for the page to be taken down. In an interview with the newspaper, Eric Trump said that though the family has done such fundraisers for many years, he was considering cancelling the bidding after the Times questioned it.
Still, no formal explanation has yet to be given for the cancelation, and the page’s link now redirects to the homepage of Charitybuzz. Regardless of the circumstances, it's a concerning instinct from the Trump family, who seems to have a fundamental lack of understanding about why conflicts of interest are a serious issue, especially with regard to the White House. The president-elect claims that putting his children in charge of his company will remove any ethical dilemmas, but the criticism of Ivanka's failed charity auction is another example of why even the business interests of his children should concern every American citizen.