Two days after rioters drove past the police and rampaged through the corridors of the Capitol, everyone from lawmakers to supervisors is still counting the damage – a word that suddenly has many meanings.
There’s literal damage in the form of broken glass, bullet holes, and ransacked offices. There is the damage to the country’s bourgeois ideals voiced by an emotional Senator Corey Booker, DN.J., who announced on Wednesday that “our democracy has been damaged.” The image and reputation of the United States abroad is also affected. A statement by the House Foreign Affairs Committee said the violence on Wednesday “damaged our reputation and our standing in the world”.
Finally, there is the damage that is likely to result in the years to come, especially a citizenry that is still marked by deep ideological differences. And somewhere in this unknowable future lies another possible aftermath of the violence at President Trump’s feet.
That doesn’t mean he won’t be a favorite [of some people] for years to come – but its brand will not survive in my opinion.
– Hayes Roth, Director, HA Roth Consulting
And paradoxically, that is the fallout for the Trump brand itself. Four years ago, Trump noted, as we know, that he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot someone” and still not lose his most important supporters. To some extent, this is still the case after Wednesday’s violence in the Capitol. A YouGov poll conducted the day after the hand-to-hand combat found that 45% of Republican voters still support him.
But that’s Trump the man. Trump’s brand is a different calculation.
For years Donald Trump used his property, personality and celebrity to forge a living brand that at one time encompassed everything from menswear to cologne to mail order steaks. After he became president, he used the office to polish that brand further – most visibly with the Trump International Hotel, just three blocks east of the White House, which was full of diplomats eager to show favor to the 45th president.
But now that Trump has lost the support of even staunch allies – “It is time the president accepted the election results, stopped misleading the American people and opposed mob violence,” said Arkansas Republican Senator Tom Cotton, On Wednesday the world begins to wonder how the Trump brand, which exists today in the form of 10 hotels, 19 golf clubs, and 33 residential buildings around the world, will fare in the coming months, or if it will survive at all.
“The events [of Wednesday] have cemented an endless threat to the survival of what remains of the Trump brand, ”Eric Schiffer, serial entrepreneur and regular CNN business associate, told Adweek. “It is currently melting in a dumpster fire.”
The long decline of a brand
This fire has actually been burning for several years. Between 2019 and 2020, Trump lost around $ 600 million from its estimated value, according to the Forbes 400 list, a 20% decrease. While some of his losses – like the $ 1 billion lost in its April 2020 property revenue – were due to the coronavirus crippling the travel business, the red ink started flowing long before Covid-19 came out. Miami’s Doral Resort’s operating income fell 69% between 2015 and 2017. “Trump Organization real estate,” USA Today reported in 2019, “is no longer desirable for tenants.”