Trump brand tarnished after bruising presidency and Capitol attack

NEW YORK (AFP) – Donald Trump shot to prominence with a business empire that bears his name, but after four years of political tumult capped by his supporters’ violent attack on the Capitol, the United States (US) President’s brand stands tarnished, threatening his businesses, experts said.

Companies that stuck with Trump throughout his term are cutting ties in an 11th-hour stampede, including Signature Bank which closed Trump’s personal accounts and the PGA of America which scotched a plan to hold its 2022 championship at Trump’s New Jersey golf course.

Such announcements not only reflect the business community’s skittishness to proximity with a widely condemned figure, but further hem in his company, already hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and the looming loss of US taxpayer revenue tied to Trump’s visits.

The president’s role in the Capitol calamity that killed five people and drew international shock has generated withering criticism from diverse groups ranging from the Business Roundtable to the AFL-CIO labour federation.

Trump’s “name is really an albatross,” said Michael D’Antonio, who authored a 2015 biography of Trump, adding that January 6 was a game-changer for the president’s brand.

“He is the most disgraced president in history. This is a person who’s synonymous with a mob attacking the US Capitol,” he said. “I just think this went a step too far.”

Tim Calkins, a marketing professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, said Trump’s brand will suffer long-term damage due to the chaos.

“Before his term, Trump stood for wealth, success and over-the-top luxury,” he said. “Now the brand has associations with anti-government views, racism and extremism. This makes the brand fairly toxic.”

A man walks by Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago, Illinois. PHOTO: AFP