Donald Trump’s March to Loserland Is Only Beginning
The name that he valued at $3 billion as recently as a year ago is one that residents and property owners are trying to escape from now.
By Michael Daly, October 26, 2016
Donald Trump’s march to Loserland is only just beginning.
His real pain starts the day after Election Day.
As they say in his native Queens, what goes around comes around.
And come it will. Accelerated business losses. A continent-wide clamoring to remove his miasmic moniker from buildings. Multiple looming lawsuits, two of them fraud actions arising from Trump University, one of those before federal Judge Gonzalo Curiel in San Diego, whom he suggested was biased because of his ethnicity.
Trump will also face revelatory depositions should he follow through on threats to sue the dozen-plus women who have recently accused him of sexual transgressions. He might remember his deposition during his 1990 divorce from Ivana, when he is said to have taken the Fifth Amendment 97 times, largely in response to questions about other women. And, unlike matrimonial cases in New York, civil cases are public record.
Most hurtful of all will be the irrecoverable depreciation of the name that he valued at $3 billion as recently as a year ago.
The name that appears on the ballot as the Republican candidate for President of the United States will continue to signify intolerance, sexual assault and lies, lies, lies to people who previously associated it with wealth and celebrity and, at worst, vulgarity.
Already, tenants and developers and local politicians are agitating to have TRUMP removed from buildings in New York, Chicago, Toronto and Vancouver. An online petition is circulating to have the name excised from a row of Trump-branded apartment buildings on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. One signatory, Geoffrey Newman, added a comment that he and his family “are embarrassed each time we enter the building.” Another, Erin Kelly wrote:
“Let my signature here serve to clarify that in no way, shape, or form should my residence on RSB be construed as condoning a single thought, word, or action on the part of the shortfingered vulgarian whose name in huge brass letters still besmirches my building despite his complete non-involvement in its ownership or management.”Up in Canada, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has written to the developer of the new Trump International Hotel and Tower there, asking that the name lose the Trump..
“As mayor, I’m proud that Vancouver is known throughout the world for our steadfast commitment to diversity, equality and freedom from discrimination and hatred,” Robertson wrote. “In contrast, Donald Trump’s hateful positions and commentary remind us all of much darker times in our world’s past—and it is incumbent on all of us to forcefully challenge hatred in all of the ways it confronts us.”
The developer, Holborn, declined, saying it is “not in any way involved in US politics,” as if this were just politics. The company went ahead and installed TRUMP in outsized chrome letters, but immediately covered it with tarps—purportedly to protect it from being scratched during the finishing up—and kept it hidden as the opening was delayed from late summer to fall and now to January. A spokesman for the firm was quoting insisting that the timing had nothing to do with the American election.
“Absolutely not,” he said.
In New Jersey, the company run by Trump’s own son-in-law, Jared Kushner, has failed to respond to repeated inquiries from the Daily Beast as to whether it intends to put TRUMP on the front of a Trump-branded building it has nearly completed. The 50-story tower in Jersey City was built partly with $50 million from Chinese investors taking advantage of a program that gives visas with very little screening to foreign investors who put a minimum of $500,000 in an American project.
An adjoining sister tower was completed in 2008 and has TRUMP PLAZA in big brass letters on the steel awning above the entrance. The entrance to the new tower is only now being completed. Ironworkers from Local 11 have installed a big steel awning, but not so much as a T as of yet. A bricklayer at the site said on Wednesday afternoon that the name would be installed at the very end, if it is at all.
“The grand finale,” he laughed.
Jersey City is where Trump says thousands of Muslims cheered on 9/11. Mayor Steven Fulop and some city council members have suggested they would be happy to see TRUMP removed from the older tower. They would hardly welcome seeing it on the new.
“Trump needs to understand that Jersey City will not be part of his hate campaign which is really the foundation of his candidacy,” Fulop said.
If TRUMP does go up on the new tower, it will likely only be because Jared Kushner is Ivanka Trump’s husband. The five letters would certainly make no monetary sense at a time when investors in buildings that have licensing deals with Trump are said to be offering him more than the contracted fee if he agrees to take down his business-blighting name. Down comes TRUMP and up goes the building’s value.
Anyone contemplating an association with TRUMP has to consider the new demographics. Foursquare has calculated that foot traffic at Trump- branded properties is down 16 per cent since he entered the race. The travel site Hipmunk reports that bookings at Trump hotels are down 58 per cent over last year. The market research firm Skift conducted a survey in May where 57 per cent of the respondents indicated they were less likely to stay in a Trump hotel as a result of his campaign. Only 23 per cent of the respondents said they were more likely, around the same number who said they were aware Trump was in the hotel business.
Perhaps the only good business news for Trump of late is the Skift survey found that 30.6 per cent of males in the south were more likely to stay in a Trump-branded hotel. But the overall majority in the south reported they were less likely to patronize a Trump spot.
In the west, 72.7 per cent of women were less likely to patronize the Trump brand, and this was before the surfacing of the recording in which he bragged about committing sexual assault with impunity. Young people across the country were negative, including 67.2 per cent of those 25-34 and 59.5 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds.
And, Skift says, the higher the income, the less likely folks would be to check-in.
The newly opened Trump International Hotel and Tower in Washington, DC slashed its original price from $575 a night to $404 before it even officially opened. The hotel is not fully booked even on Election Day, though Trump is gouging his supporters with a one-shot price boost to $604.
No wonder Trump has decided to inaugurate a new hotel brand—SCION—so as to move down market, or, as his scion Ivanka put it on Wednesday, “beyond 5 Star and luxury.” The Donald filed a trademark application in February to reserve this new name for “Hotel management for others… rendered in business establishments, office buildings, hotels, residential complexes and homes.”
His company, the Trump Organization, insisted in a statement that the new branding was not in response to the growing negatives: “We wanted a name that would be a nod to the Trump family and to the tremendous success it has had with its businesses, including Trump Hotels, while allowing for a clear distinction between our luxury and lifestyle brands.”
Trump also apparently intends to venture from luxury to “lifestyle” in his future real estate endeavors. He filed an expanded trademark application in July to reserve SCION for “Real estate services, namely, listing, leasing, brokerage, financing, renting and managing commercial, residential, retail, parking and hotel properties and destination resorts.”
But SCION will still be associated with Trump. And that will become an even greater liability should white supremacists such as he had refused to renounce go on to commit violence in his name.
An avowed Trump supporter—Curtis Allen—was among the three self-professed “Crusaders” arrested earlier this month for allegedly planning to detonate car bombs at a Kansans [sic] apartment complex largely occupied by Somali refugees. Federal agents who thwarted the plot say the attack was scheduled for the day after the election.
And there are many more extremists where those three came from. The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that the number of identified militia groups rose 37 perc cent in 2015.
Trump is already the subject of a federal law suit filed by three protesters who say they were physically assaulted and subjected to racial slurs after Trump commanded followers to “get them out of here!’ at a rally in Louisville, Kentucky in March.
“Each time he said ‘get them out,’ Trump intended for his supporters to use unwanted, harmful physical violence to remove protesters,” the suit charges.
The suit says that one of the protesters, 21-year-old college student Kashiya Nwanguma, was subjected to both the N-word and the C-word by Trump supporters at the rally. The suit charges that one of the alleged assailants, Matthew Heimbach, has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “the face of a new generation of white nationalists,” whose racial views include “separation or mongrelization.”
In moving to dismiss the case, Heimbach and Trump denied the allegations. Trump argued that he was simply exercising his constitutional right to free speech in saying, “Get them out!” The judge was not convinced and declined to toss the case.
Also in the courts is a suit brought by a photographer named David Kittos, who claims that the Trump campaign failed to get permission to use his photograph of a bowl of Skittles in a tweet by Donald Trump, Jr.
“If I had a bowl of Skittles and I told just three would kill you, would you take a handful?” the tweet famously inquired. “That’s our Syrian refugee problem.”
The law suit notes, “The unauthorized use of the Photograph is reprehensibly offensive to Plaintiff as he is a refugee of the Republic of Cyprus who was forced to flee his home at the age of six years old.”
Trump may face unrelated legal action arising from disclosure forms he filed with the Federal Election Commission, stating that his golf courses in Scotland made $26 million last year. Other disclosure forms he was required to file in Scotland indicate that he in fact lost $3 million.
Trump will remain really rich, with a fortune that Forbes puts at $3.7 billion despite what the magazine estimates to be a $800 million loss in the value of his real-estate holdings over the past year. Forbes did not join Trump in placing a value on his name, which by any true reckoning has depreciated in recent months faster than even his casinos did back in the days of bankruptcy.
A measure of the premium he places on his name came back in 2012, after Chris Puchowicz of Connecticut purchased the domain name Tump.org [sic] at public auction for $1,272. Puchowisc soon after received a missive on from a Trump lawyer on TRUMP letterhead via express mail charging him with “trademark infringement and cyber piracy.”
“The Trump name is internationally known and famous as a result of Mr. Trump’s long, extensive, and high profile business activities,” the letter said. “Unauthorized use of the Trump name will inevitably cause confusion in the public’s mind and dilute and tarnish the value of the Trump mark.”
Puchowisc reported this week in an email to the Daily Beast that he had refused to be intimated [sic].
“I find it funny that Trump and his employees didn’t have the common sense to participate in the public auction, but days after tried to bully me so they could get the domain for free after I paid for it,” he wrote. “Lack of common sense and bullying/scare tactics. Pretty much sums his campaign up as well.”
Puchowisc added, “Not too long later the domain Trump.tv went up for public auction and I purchased it as well and it now forwards to Trump.org.”
His $251 purchase of trump.tv is of note because of rumors in recent days that Trump plans to start his own television network after the election. Trump TV might be a hit among southern males of modest income, but would likely go the way of similar right-wing ventures such as the short-lived Sarah Palin Channel.
Trump’s best model for a possible media success might be Right Side Broadcasting, an internet venture that has been carrying his rallies live. That includes the one this week in Sanford, Florida, the same town where Trayvon Martin was shot death while armed with nothing more deadly than the bag of Skittles he had just bought at a convenience store.
At least Trump had the sense in Sanford not to repeat the analogy between Skittles and Syrian refugees. He did offer some lame imitations of President Obama. And he became even more vitriolic than usual about the media, pointing to a bank of cameras such as have had the temerity to record what he has said and done during the campaign.
“Just about the biggest part of the crooked establishment are those people right back there with the phony cameras,” Trump told the cheering crowd about folks who have helped give him the equivalent of untold millions in free advertising. “They’re a bunch of phony low lifes.”
Perhaps Trump is all the more bitter about his present dealings with the media because he was given a pass for so many years. He was fined $250,000 in 1999 for violating New York State lobbying laws by enlisting his crony Roger Stone to set up the fugazy New York Institute for Law and Society and advertise in newspapers against a plan by the St. Regis Mohawk tribe to open a casino in the Catskills. Trump feared it might siphon business from his faltering casinos in Atlantic City.
“Increased crime, broken families, bankruptcies and, in the case of the Mohawks, violence,” one ad warned.
Mohawk ironworkers played a legendary role in building the New York skyline. But Trump’s shameful smear of these heroic Native Americans was forgotten by 2004, when the first episode of The Apprentice began with a swooping panorama of the Manhattan skyscrapers Mohawks helped building at considerable risk, sometimes with fatal result.
The intro to The Apprentice also to prominently featured the State of Liberty even as Trump perpetuated the birther fiction against President Obama. Reality continued to have little to do with Reality TV as the show persisted in presenting Trump as a worthy role model for those who aspire to riches and success.
And that suspension of the actual in favor [of] the image persisted as he became the Republican nominee for president. He was allowed to call an April event a “homecoming rally” even though it was held in a Long Island suburb rather than in New York City with its mix of immigrants and people of color. He was Teflon Trump and it appeared he might even defeat the opponent he calls Crooked Hillary, but is in truth closer to being Concocted Hillary.
Then came the Access Hollywood tape, in which Trump’s talk ventured beyond the politically incorrect to sex crimes. There had bene relatively little media attention when tens of thousands of decent working folks booed The Donald when stepped onto a balcony of Trump Tower to watch Pope Francis arrive at St. Patrick’s Cathedral during the papal New York visit in the fall of 2015. But it became a big story when a couple of folks in boiled shirts and evening gowns booed him at an archdiocese charity dinner last week.
On Wednesday, he almost could have been Teflon Trump again at the official opening of his new hotel in the new Washington, D.C. Ivanka addressed the gathering in the Presidential Ballroom and she seemed not at all like the daughter of an alleged groper. She mentioned that another Trump hotel would be opening soon in Vancouver, her tone spritely, as if there were no accompanying controversy. She then introduced her father, harkening back to the ground breaking for the Washington hotel.
“Two years ago, when he promised the city of D.C. that Trump would be coming to Pennsylvania Avenue in 2016, we had no idea what we were foreshadowing,’ she said.
Daddy Trump then took the microphone, describing the hotel as the “most coveted piece of real estate in Washington other than 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.”
“We’re very proud of our company, but it seems pretty insignificant compared to what we’re doing now,” he said. “As soon as we’ve finished cutting the ribbon, I’m off to North Carolina, New Hampshire and Florida, where I hear we’re doing very well.”
Then, he praised Newt Gingrich for an interview in which the former Speaker of the House angrily called Megyn Kelly sex-obsessed because she was not ready to shrug off allegations of sex assault by the Republican presidential candidate. The moment came to cut the ribbon, which was big and red and of course stamped repeatedly with TRUMP. Trump and his wife, Melania, and his scions each held a golden pair of scissors.
“Many, many years of luck and happiness and everything else,” he intoned. “One, two, three…”
There were cheers as if it were a great beginning and the name Trump still attracted more people than it repulsed. The election was less than two weeks away and by all indications this hotel was the closet Trump would be coming to the White House.
What went around would be coming around and around and around in the form of empty hotel rooms and law suits and all the other pain that will be starting for real after the election. when he marches on into Loserland.
That is, unless America comes up the biggest loser of all.