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If It’s All About the Trump Brand, Let’s Jam It Up

Published in the Boston Globe

Well, that didn’t take long. On Monday, the Trump Organization announced plans to launch a chain of three-star hotels to target the millions of Americans who voted for Donald Trump but could never afford his gilded hotels, condos, or clubs.

Until now, Trump’s middle-class base had to settle for purchasing little chips off the Trump brand: a bottle of water, a steak, a made-in-China tie or, of course, a hat. But there is more gold in them thar voters, and it is positively un-Trumpian to leave it unmanned.

Enter American Idea, “a new midscale brand” hotel chain whose first properties will be in Mississippi, a red state where Trump won 18 percentage points more of the popular vote than Hillary Clinton. This is not just an attempt at crashing the Comfort Inn niche by wrapping it in stars and stripes. It’s also the most vivid window yet into the myriad ways the Trump family is transforming the presidency into a for-profit family business, annihilating the line between government and their web of brands.

It turns out that while the Trump kids were on the campaign trail last year, they weren’t just stumping for their father — they were conducting market research on ways to profit from Trump voters. The sons would return to Trump Tower and report on the quaint and old-timey tastes enjoyed in “real America,” as Eric Trump described it on “Good Morning America” earlier this week.

As Donald Jr. put it, he realized “there’s something here, there’s a market here that we’ve been missing our entire lives by focusing only on the high end.” And there were more perks to tagging along on the campaign trail. They also met people who donated to the Trump campaign, and some of those very people are now the first partners for this new venture.

Read the rest of the article in the Boston Globe

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