Capitol Storm as a "game changer": The Trump brand becomes a taboo

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Capitol Storm as a "game changer"
The Trump brand is becoming a taboo

The name Trump once stood for wealth, success and luxury. After the storming of the US Capitol, the name was associated with anti-government attitudes and racism. Many supporters and business partners turn away. After his term in office, Trump is also threatened with a mountain of debt.

Unproven election fraud allegations, attacks on party friends and inciting his supporters to riot: The last days of his term of office will have a lasting impact on Donald Trump's presidency. But not only the political damage is immense – the Trump brand is also battered. More and more long-term business partners are turning away from the corporate empire of the US president, who is leaving office on Wednesday. According to experts, its name has become a taboo in the business world. Companies and banks that had remained loyal to the Trump brand for the past four years turned their backs on the Trump Organization after the violent assault on the Capitol on January 6.

Deutsche Bank, which still owes Trump around $ 400 million (330 million euros), is reportedly one of them. She doesn't want to do business with Trump or his companies anymore. US credit institution Signature Bank closed all Trump personal accounts in response to the January 6 events, and the PGA of America Golfers Association has canceled plans to hold the 2022 golf championship on Trump's New Jersey golf course. Trump's name has become a "burden" for his corporate empire, says Trump biographer Michael D'Antonio. The brutal attack on the Capitol was a "game changer" for the Trump brand as well. "He is the most severely disgraced president in history," added D'Antonio. Trump's name has become synonymous with the "mob" that attacked the US Capitol.

Marketing professor Tim Calkins from Northwestern University also assumes that the Trump brand will suffer lasting damage because of the chaotic presidency of its namesake. "Before he took office, Trump stood for wealth, success and excessive luxury," says Calkins. Now they arouse "associations with anti-government attitudes, racism and extremism" and are in a sense "poisoned". Trump's assumption of office had already affected the lucrative value of his hotels in some places. The Trump Organization, now run by his sons Don Jr. and Eric, abandoned a luxury hotel project in New York's Soho district. The Republican is extremely unpopular in liberal New York. According to the Washington Post, occupancy in the Trump hotels in Washington and Chicago has recently been extremely low – also due to the corona pandemic.

Trump regularly rejects reports that he is in financial trouble. Regarding his debt to Deutsche Bank, he said in mid-October that the $ 400 million was only "a tiny percentage of my net worth." Forbes magazine recently estimated his fortune at around $ 2.5 billion – up from $ 3.7 billion at the end of 2016 before he moved into the White House.

Trump TV for a devoted circle of admirers

Noah Bookbinder, Director of the NGO Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), points out that over the past four years, tax money has reliably flowed directly into Trump's hotels and golf courses – because Trump very often goes there with government staff, family members and protectionists Secret Service stopped. In September, CREW put the revenue from the President's visits to Trump's properties at more than $ 100 million. The organization listed a total of around 3,400 cases of conflicts of interest when, for example, foreign government delegations or lobbyists stayed in Trump hotels. Bookbinder criticizes that Trump did not completely break away from his corporate empire after taking office. Instead, political and business interests were merged: Trump used his presidency to advertise his brand – and his sons, who are responsible for the business, created a political mood for Trump.

The consequence is that the Trump brand will find it more difficult in the future to address customers who are not part of Trump's political base. Trump could now rely on a "smaller, but extremely devoted" group of admirers. In order to pay off his debts at Deutsche Bank, Trump could sell his real estate, says his biographer D'Antonio. It is then possible that "in ten years there will no longer be any Trump Towers, Trump Hotels or Trump golf courses". But the ex-president and former TV entertainer could reinvent himself, according to D'Antonio: Trump would possibly build his own TV network that would be anchored in the very conservative milieu. Trump would then continue to rally his following as a kind of "political evangelical" preacher.

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