16 de enero de 2021
Hispanic World

Trump losing business support, putting future of his brand in danger

By Mario Villar

 President Donald J. Trump. EFE/EPA/JIM LO SCALZO/File

President Donald J. Trump. EFE/EPA/JIM LO SCALZO/File

By Mario Villar

New York, Jan 13 (efe-epa).- After four years of controversy, the assault on the Capitol by his followers is ending up costing Donald Trump the support of a good part of the business community and threatens the future of his businesses once he leaves the White House.

The Trump brand, the main asset of the New York magnate, has become toxic after the historic episode last Wednesday in Washington and many companies are hurrying to distance themselves from it.

In an ever-growing and virtually unprecedented cascade, big companies in all economic sectors have condemned the riot and the outgoing president for egging the rioters on at a rally before the mob marched on the Capitol by repeating his claims that massive election fraud denied him reelection in the Nov. 3 vote and that Democrats were trying to "steal" the election from him.

Some influential business groups who had closely cooperated with the administration prior to this past week have now been calling for the president to resign or be removed from office before Democratic President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated on Jan. 20.

But the companies have not merely been paying lip service to this idea and many of them are also taking concrete measures having a direct impact on the president and, above all, on the future of his prospective return to the business world after leaving office.

Deutsche Bank, the German bank Trump has used the most for financing in recent decades, has decided not to do any further business with him once he pays back its loan to him of more than $300 million, a loan that comes due in the next few years.

Signature Bank, another financial entity where Trump has personal accounts valued at more than $5 million and which helped to finance his Florida golf course, also has decided to break relations with the mogul.

The bank said in a statement that it believed it would be appropriate for Trump to resign, a move that it said would be in the best interest of the country and all Americans.

Trump has a fortune estimated at some $2.5 billion, according to Forbes magazine, but he has significant outstanding debts of at least $1 billion, according to his financial declarations.

Real estate has always been his biggest business but in recent months speculation has been rife about the possibility that Trump might try to start up his own news channel and, more recently, the president himself has spoken of his interest in creating a social network after his problems with Twitter and Facebook, both of whom permanently suspended his accounts after the Capitol attack.

The moves by the big social networks also threatens to take political power away from Trump along with his economic muscle when he returns to managing his businesses, which are having big problems right now.

After losing several of the hotels bearing his name and abandoning plans to launch two more affordable hotel lines, Trump's tourist interests have suffered just like all the rest of his businesses amid the coronavirus crisis.

In addition, his company has problems in the courts with several cases open against it including an investigation in New York for potential fraud in which one of Trump's children was forced to testify.

To all this may be added the consequences of the attack on the Capitol, which has cost the Trump Organization contracts it had with the New York City Hall to operate the carousel in Central Park, two ice skating rinks and a golf course.

Meanwhile, after the disturbances the Professional Golf Association announced that it will not play the 2022 championship at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in New Jersey because doing so would be "detrimental" to its brand.

The downward spiral in recent days of the Republican president's political and economic situation has also begun to hit some members of the GOP, especially those who have opted to officially back his unfounded complaints of election fraud in last November's vote.

In recent days, a large number of companies have announced that they will suspend their donations to lawmakers who voted against certifying Biden's victory, that is to say those who have remained the most loyal to Trump in his final days in the White House.

AT&T, Mastercard, American Express, Marriott, Dow, Morgan Stanley and Blue Cross Blue Shield are just some of the major business firms that have opted to distance themselves from what they view as an outright attack on the US democratic system.

Many other companies have preferred to temporarily freeze all their political contributions at this tense time, something that will be more damaging to Republicans, who traditionally have received more financial help from the business sector.

Over the past four years, the majority of the big business community has stuck by Trump and the GOP since the Republicans had offered them things that they had yearned for, including a big tax cut and the elimination of many regulations.

However, little by little a growing number of voices in the business world have been moving away from the president. Some began to do so some time back because of Trump's refusal to condemn white supremacism or because of his anti-immigrant rhetoric, but the Capitol attack (and the imminent change of administration) is what seems to have given these firms a definite push in that direction.

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