As of late, retailers have been dropping Trump brand products. Businesses from Sears and Kmart to Norsdtrom and Neiman Marcus, both accessory stores, have partially or entirely stopped selling the items. Depending on who you ask, this is because the items were selling poorly, or because of animosity against Trump and his daughter Ivanka.
These two things may not be mutually exclusive, since there is now a concerted effort to boycott multiple businesses that sell Trump products. Dozens of businesses have been targeted ever since the #GrabYourWallet hashtag, which initially targeted 32 retailers, appeared back in November after Trump’s victory. Currently, there are even more businesses on the list.
This sort of boycott isn’t anything new. In the case of Kellogg’s, it wasn’t the consumer but the company that acted. When the cereal giant withdrew advertising from the pro-Trump Breitbart.com, incensed fans of the site decided to in turn boycott the company. Kellogg’s was by no means the first to withdraw advertisements, following the leads of the insurance company Allstate and network provider Earthlink.
All of this has created tension between team Trump and the businesses and people who want to boycott the Trump brand. Just like the readers of Breitbart reacted with furor over what they perceived as bullying by large companies, Trump has not taken kindly to retailers’ policies regarding his daughter’s merchandise. On Feb. 8, he declared on Twitter that his daughter had been “treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom.”
So there are a few subjects to think about here. Is it the place of a business to take a side in politics? To this I would say yes. In my mind, any person or organization that pays taxes is entitled to be a political megaphone. The CEO of Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. has been outspoken about his opposition to raising the minimum wage, and the co-founder of Home Depot publicly defended Donald Trump after his lewd remarks with Billy Bush were disclosed to the press. Business and politics have never been separate for as long as the two have existed.
As for President Trump taking personal offense to a business decision by Nordstrom, this is beneath him. It would be, anyway, if he hadn’t already lowered the bar of acceptable presidential behavior so low. Our last president endured countless personal attacks upon his ethnicity and family, and yet never took to Twitter to go on a self-pitying tirade.
Regardless of how Trump reacts, though, I don’t see these boycotts doing much of anything. In a country this divided, one liberal group’s decision to boycott a business is only an advertisement to conservatives. Ultimately, I think it’s public pressure, rather than moral compass, that leads businesses to make big decisions like dropping a site for advertising.