Four ways being president destroyed Donald Trump’s brand

Former business allies steering clear of outgoing president

Donald Trump tours a section of the border wall in Alamo, Texas.
Donald Trump tours a section of his unfinished border wall in Texas
(Image credit: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

A corporate stampede to avoid associations with Donald Trump may see the president become the first to leave the White House poorer than when he took office, pundits are predicting.

Reputation management expert Stephen Greyser, a professor of marketing at Harvard Business School, told The Telegraph that the storming of the Capitol and Trump’s subsequent impeachment “will have an impact” on the outgoing US leader’s business brand.

Trump is already facing debts totalling more than $420m, according to an analysis last year of his tax returns by The New York Times. But as recent events take a further toll on his Trump Organization family business, could the cost of his presidency prove far greater?

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1. Banks beat a retreat

Deutsche Bank - previously Trump’s “most important lender”, according to The Guardian - has cut ties with the president. “After a series of bankruptcies in the 1990s, it was the only bank willing to give Trump money,” says the paper.

But the relationship has soured as his presidency nears an end. Reuters says that the German investment giant has been looking to cut ties since November, after growing tired “of the negative publicity stemming from the ties”.

2. Golf business in the bunker

Golf fanatic Trump has plunged hundreds of millions of dollars into trying to establish the world’s leading golf-resort brand and to host a major championship.

This latter hope has been snuffed out, however, after the Professional Golfers Association of America (PGA) last week said it had “become clear” that holding a major championship at Trump’s Bedminster course, in New Jersey, would be “detrimental to the PGA of America brand”.

The R&A, the ruling body of golf outside of the US, has also announced that the British Open will not be played at Turnberry, a famous old course in Scotland that Trump owns.

3. Damaged goods

The president’s ability to make money through licensing deals is “dependent on the enduring appeal of the Trump brand”, says The New Yorker. That status “is now in question”, however, amid widespread outrage over the Capitol Hill attack.

His son Eric insists that the outgoing Republican leader can take his pick from “endless” opportunities. But the magazine argues that “the Trump name is so toxic that virtually no one in the business world wants to be associated with it”.

4. Family matters

Trump’s inner circle, most notably his children, are unlikely to escape the fallout from the damaging recent dramas.

A source told CNN that Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner are “trying to keep what little is left for them in terms of sellable currency as Trumps”. Yet in the absence of an “image upgrade”, the family’s “hotels, real estate, branded retail and any future Trump-touched business entities could be irretrievably damaged”, says the broadcaster.

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Chas Newkey-Burden has been part of The Week Digital team for more than a decade and a journalist for 25 years, starting out on the irreverent football weekly 90 Minutes, before moving to lifestyle magazines Loaded and Attitude. He was a columnist for The Big Issue and landed a world exclusive with David Beckham that became the weekly magazine’s bestselling issue. He now writes regularly for The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, Metro, FourFourTwo and the i new site. He is also the author of a number of non-fiction books.