On Wednesday, the department store Macy’s became the latest company to sever business dealings with real estate tycoon and 2016 Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump over comments he made during an inaugural campaign speech about Mexican immigrants.
Last month, Trump delivered an impassioned campaign announcement speech in which he accused Mexican immigrants of being criminals, rapists and drug-dealers.
“When Mexico sends its people [to the United States], they’re not sending their best,” Trump said at the June 16 event. “They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us: They’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting.”
The comments prompted thousands of people to sign an online petition calling for Macy’s to drop Trump’s line of luxury clothes and accessories. Macy’s said Wednesday it would drop Trumps’ merchandise because the comments made were not in line with the company’s own values.
“We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico,” Macy’s said. “We do not believe the disparaging characterizations portray an accurate picture of the many Mexicans, Mexican-Americans and Latinos who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation.”
Macy’s said it would immediately begin phasing out its line of “Donald J. Trump Signature Collection” items. Items sold by Macy’s under the Trump brand included imported shirts and ties (made in China) as well as tailored suits (made in Mexico).
The move by Macy’s comes after several television networks said they would no longer carry programming featuring or owned by Trump, including the forthcoming Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants. Last week, the television network Univision announced it would not go ahead with plans to carry a Spanish-language simulcast of the Miss USA pageant on a companion channel, UniMas, in July. NBCUniversal, which co-owns the Miss USA pageant with Trump, announced Monday it would sever business ties with Trump as well and would not air his pageants on any NBC-owned network.
In a series of responses mostly posted to his Twitter account, Trump threatened to sue both Univision and NBCUniversal for breach of contract. He went a step further with Univision in a letter fired off to the company’s chief executive in which he banned Univision employees from his Miami-based hotel and resort. Trump also asked Univision to “congratulate your Mexican government officials for having made such outstanding trade deals with the United States,” apparently unaware that the Spanish channel is based in New York City and not Mexico.
In an interview with ABC News last week, Trump tried to walk back claims that his remarks had been directed at Mexican immigrants.
“I didn’t say it about Mexico,” Trump said in the interview. “I said people from all over.”
But he doubled-down on his comments about Mexican immigrants in response to NBC’s decision to move away from its business dealings with the real estate mogul. On Monday, Trump issued a statement calling NBC “weak” and “foolish” for “not understand[ing] the serious illegal immigration problem in the United States coupled with the horrendous and unfair trade deals we are making with Mexico.” In the same statement, he criticized the Peacock Network for “stand[ing] behind lying Brian Williams,” the once-anchor of the NBC Nightly News who recently re-joined the network in a new capacity following a brief suspension over fabrications in some of his news reports.
Trump, who has publicly been a political ally of the Republican party since the late 1980s, has become a more polarizing figure over the last few years due to his comments about financial reform, immigration, same-sex marriage and his attacks against President Obama. He has announced his interest in running for president on several occasions throughout the years, though his exploration of a presidential bid was often dismissed as a publicity stunt; before this year, his interest in presidential politics nearly always coincided with the airing of his television program “The Apprentice,” which NBC says will now continue without Trump.
The move by Macy’s to break off its business relations with Donald Trump was a long-achieved goal for Angelo Carusone, the executive vice president of Media Matters and a digital activist who has campaigned against Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and other polarizing conservative figures. Carusone released a statement Wednesday praising Macy’s for its decision to move away from Trump.
“Donald Trump’s brand of bigoted bullying is simply bad for business,” Carusone said in the statement. “After more than three years of allowing Donald Trump’s toxic brand to turn off thousands of customers and damage their own reputation, Macy’s has finally made the right decision to stop investing in and supporting Donald Trump.”
Carusone, who launched his movement against Trump three years ago, told TheBlot Magazine that Macy’s decision to drop Trump’s line of clothing was part of a “critical mass of business interests that intersect with Trump’s brand acknowledging its toxicity and severing ties.”
“In terms of where we go from here, I think there’s so much inertia that we’ll start to see more and more individuals and business interest dump Trump,” Carusone said.