At least 7 notable companies are planning to cut ties with Trump's businesses
Following the deadly pro-Trump riot in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 6, a host of companies have announced plans to stop political giving, with some targeting the Republican members of Congress specifically and others suspending political contributions altogether.
Meanwhile, President Trump himself has remained defiant, falsely telling reporters Tuesday that his speech last week, which helped incite violence that led to 5 deaths, had been deemed “totally appropriate.”
But a few companies with direct relationships to Trump’s company, the Trump Organization, and his campaign have also acted, exposing an additional point of leverage that, like the permanent suspension of the @realDonaldTrump Twitter handle, will continue to impact him personally long after he leaves office.
The Trump Organization had already been facing financial headwinds this year stemming from the president’s conduct and coronavirus restrictions, but the actions in the past week have been at a larger scale than anything seen before.
Zach Everson runs the website 1100pennsylvania.com (the address of the president’s Washington, D.C., hotel) and chronicles his personal business dealings closely.
These businesses had plenty of opportunities to cut ties with Trump over the last four years, but “it wasn't until this week that the math, I guess, changed for those groups and they realized it would just be better to cut him loose,” said Everson.
Hitting Trump’s pocketbook
In perhaps the most significant move, Deutsche Bank (DB) will cease doing new business with Donald Trump or his companies, according to a New York Times report. The multinational bank with headquarters in New York has long been a key Trump ally, helping him finance his business for decades.
Deutsche Bank, which has been called “Trump’s bank,” has been the subject of subpoenas by New York prosecutors, and has been been itching to distance itself from Trump. The violence in D.C. last week – and Trump’s involvement in it – appears to have been the last straw.
It won’t be quite so easy though as Trump still owes the Deutsche Bank more than $300 million, coming due in the next few years. The Times reports that Signature Bank (SBNY) is also cutting ties with the soon-to-be former president.
The Professional Golf Association, another longtime Trump ally, has cut ties. One of golf’s four major tournaments had been scheduled for the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, in New Jersey, in 2022.
But not anymore.
“It has become clear that conducting the P.G.A. Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the P.G.A. of America brand,” said Jim Richerson, the P.G.A. of America president in announcing its decision to terminate the contract.
A worldwide governing body for golf, the R&A, also announced it “had no plans to stage any of our championships at [Trump’s course in] Turnberry [Scotland] and will not do so in the foreseeable future.” That move takes the British Open away from Trump for now. His course is among a group of 10 courses where the prestigious tournament rotates; the event was last held there in 2009, before Trump bought the course.
‘We have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump’
Shopify (SHOP), the Canadian e-commerce company, also took down online stores it managed that sold Trump merchandise. TrumpStore.com now redirects viewers to the Trump Organization’s own store with no capability to buy things online. The site invites visitors to either send an email or “[e]xplore the official retail experience of The Trump Organization in-store at Trump Tower.”
In a statement to Yahoo Finance, a Shopify spokesperson said that due to the president’s actions, “we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump.”
In another striking blow, according to a Washington Post report, New York City is exploring legal options to terminate its business relationships with Trump. The president’s company still has contracts “to run a carousel, two ice rinks and a golf course in city parks.”
A spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not respond to requests for comment by time of publication.
Undercutting the Trump campaign apparatus
A spate of companies that do business with the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have also abruptly cut ties.
Salesforce (CRM), a cloud-based software company headquartered in San Francisco, provides much of the infrastructure behind Trump and the Republican National Committee’s ability to send emails to millions of its followers. Salesforce told Vice.com it had "taken action" in order to "prevent its use of our services in any way that could lead to violence." A Twitter account that tracks Trump’s fundraising pitches reports that it has received zero pitches from the president since Jan. 6, the day of the DC riots.
Last week’s fundraging in review. Total emails: 2️⃣0️⃣ (avg. of 2.9/day) pic.twitter.com/3Z7pYWLIZD
— Trump Fundraising Emails (@TrumpEmail) January 11, 2021
Stripe, a private company that lets businesses process payments online, announced it would stop processing payments for the president’s campaign website, according to the Wall Street Journal. The impact of that move was unclear, though, as the Trump campaign website continues to ask visitors to contribute through the group Winred, which gathers contributions for a range of Republicans.
“He’s become toxic and so companies at this point don’t want to have that toxicity rub off on them,” said Bruce Freed, president of the Center for Political Accountability.
The question is how the Trump Organization – which Trump still owns, though he says has been under the day-to-day control of his two adult sons since he took office – fares in the coming years, and whether businesses will eventually decide to re-engage his hotels and golf courses.
Everson said that no matter what, there will be a range of smaller politically aligned groups that will continue to patronize Trump’s properties. “My guess is that a lot of those companies that were looking to have events at the Trump Hotel, even after Trump was no longer president, are so wedded to his agenda, they'd probably continue,” he said, pointing specifically to upcoming events like an import-export gun trade association meeting.
Ben Werschkul is a writer and producer for Yahoo Finance in Washington, DC.
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