The real reason why Nordstrom won't be able to go very far with any possible legal action against the president is because the existing slander and libel laws just won't support them. First off, for such a lawsuit to be successful, the plaintiff must prove that it's suffered in some real and financial way. So far, with so many celebrities and other groups vowing to start buying more at Nordstrom stores this week, the chain may end up gaining financially from the Trump attack. And even if that doesn't quite happen, anyone who covers the retail industry knows that it's often hard to really pinpoint the cause of declining sales. Retail chain earnings reports are infamous for playing games with excuses for weaker numbers, including simultaneously blaming good and bad weather for discouraging shoppers during the same quarter!
But it goes further than that. James Nuzzo, a legal scholar and founder of The Colchester Group consulting firm, took a closer look at President Trump's tweet and noticed something very important was missing: Specifics. All the tweet accuses Nordstrom of "doing" is being "very unfair," Nuzzo points out. Any lawsuit the company brings against Mr. Trump would have almost no chance of success. Moreover, the U.S. Supreme Court has gone further in recent decades to make it even more clear that only factual misrepresentation, in other words specific lies — not opinion — would be considered libel or slander. And the tweet almost seems to have been crafted very wisely with that precedent in mind. Someone saying another person or company is "unfair" is almost the definition of an opinion as "fairness" cannot really be defined legally or otherwise. In short, don't expect President Trump to get a slap on the wrist or any other kind of slap from the courts over this.
Congress is a different matter. A much stronger argument could be made that Congress could officially censure President Trump for his conduct connected to the tweet against Nordstrom and several others like it that specifically attacked or demeaned businesses and individuals.
However, as long as Congress overall and entities like the House Oversight Committee are controlled by Republicans, that scenario is also unlikely. President Trump may not have strong approval ratings overall, but he remains popular enough to keep his fellow Republicans from jumping ship en masse. Throw in the fact that Trump won the overwhelming majority of the states where Senate seats are up for grabs in 2018, and you realize that both Republican and Democratic candidates are going to have to be careful about how they attack and challenge the White House. That doesn't mean that this Nordstrom incident couldn't come back to harm the Trump administration in the long run, but the political map of Washington and those 30 red states that President Trump won in November will have to change first.
That brings us to Conway. Her position is simply not as strong as President Trump's, but the likelihood of her paying a real price for hawking Ivanka's products is also remote. Ethically, Conway is on shaky ground by making such a specific and brazen call for consumers to buy Ivanka's clothing line. There is a rule in the Code of Federal Regulations that states a federal employee shall not use his or her office "for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise."(The president and vice president, incidentally, are exempt from this rule.)