How Trump’s businesses fare isn’t necessarily an indicator of his performance in office; however, it does reflect how certain demographics—particularly the well-heeled cosmopolitans that are his typical clientele—feel about the Trump name. Unsurprisingly, the dips in business are so far most concentrated in big cities, where opposition to the commander-in-chief is especially strong. And the fact that so many of Trump’s holdings are in left-leaning urban areas may be producing more stories of consumer backlash than if his businesses were scattered more evenly around the country. Still, his brand has in many ways suffered, underlining the irony of a candidate as distinctly metropolitan as Trump having won the presidency in large part by positioning himself against the very cities in which he makes his money.
In fact, the trend of revenue streams drying up predates his time in office. The first dip in business came after his invective-laden campaign-launch event in June 2015. In response to his remarks, NBC announced it would end its partnership with Trump on The Celebrity Apprentice (although Trump has since resumed his role as the show’s executive producer). Macy’s, Serta, Nascar, the Professional Golfers’ Association, and Phillips-Van Heusen also terminated deals with the then-candidate, as did the celebrity chef José Andrés, who withdrew from an agreement to open a restaurant at the then-uncompleted Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. In October, after the tape of Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women was leaked, a San Francisco-based marketing consultant began the #GrabYourWallet campaign, which advocates boycotting not only Trump’s businesses but also those that sell his products.
The election didn’t stop the pattern. Shortly after his victory, residents of a Trump-branded apartment complex in New York successfully petitioned the company that owned the property to remove all references to the president-elect from the buildings’ facades. The next week, ESPN reported that three NBA teams decided they would not stay at Trump properties during his presidency; a fourth announced it had made the same resolution in December. And, according to research done by congressional Democrats, Trump’s new hotel in D.C. lost more than $1.1 million between its opening in September and his inauguration in January.
There are other signs of trouble at the Trump Organization. The Miami Herald recently reported that health inspectors found 13 violations (a local record) in the kitchens at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, where the president has spent several of his weekends since taking office. A number of his properties around the world are on shaky financial footing, most notoriously the Azerbaijan hotel that Adam Davidson of The New Yorker reported on at length under the headline “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal.” Meanwhile, Trump’s net worth has slid 220 spots down Forbes’s list of billionaires over the past year as he’s lost roughly $1 billion in net worth.