Giant capital letters spelling out “T-R-U-M-P” can be seen on skylines and venues in many U.S. cities—but perhaps not for much longer as city leaders move to drop the name from buildings.
Such calls come amid a fierce backlash against President Donald Trump since some of his supporters stormed the seat of federal government, the U.S. Capitol, last week.
The president has been impeached for a second time, for “inciting violence against the government of the United States,” social media companies have blocked his accounts and major banks have distanced themselves from his business empire.
Now the physical Trump signage could be next.
However, local lawmakers calling for signs to be dropped are faced with a difficult question: how do you remove a sign from the building of a private company? Two cities think they know how.
The city, which Donald Trump once called home, announced on Wednesday that it would be terminating its contracts with the Trump Organization.
Those deals include two skating rinks and a carousel in Central Park, as well as a golf course in the Bronx, which are worth an estimated $17 million a year.
New York City has tried—and failed—to sever ties with the Trump brand before.
However, Mayor Bill de Blasio argued that the violence at the Capitol qualified as criminal activity under which the city would be able to leave the Trump contracts.
Announcing the move on Wednesday, a week after the riot, de Blasio told MSNBC: “The City of New York will no longer have anything to do with the Trump Organization.”
The Ferry Point golf course, which features the Trump name in large letters, has been run by the organization since 2015. But should the city succeed in terminating the contract, leaders would be free to offer it to another company.
Some have suggested changing the name to Lenape Links, in tribute to indigenous communities. Activist Marjorie Velazquez told The Daily News: “After what happened in D.C., his name has become divisive and it has become, to some, a symbol of hate and autocracy.”
In Central Park change is already afoot. Signs at the Trump-owned ice-skating rinks in Central Park—the Wollman and Lasker rinks—were moved from view as early as October 22, The New York Times reported at the time.
It would not be the first time the Trump Organization has itself chosen to drop its eponymous branding.
Trump SoHo New York became the Dominick in December 2017, amid reports of falling revenue. One year later, the hotel had reportedly turned things around, according to Bloomberg.
In February 2019, The Washington Post reported that a residential building had become the sixth on one New York street to remove its “Trump Place” signage. The buildings are, however, still owned and run by the Trump Organization.
The organization has vowed to fight the city’s plan to terminate its contracts, with a spokesperson calling the move “nothing more than political discrimination.”
At more than 20 ft tall and measuring 2,891 ft², the sign at Chicago’s 96-story Trump Tower is hard to miss.
City leaders have tried to get the Trump name removed before, ABC7 reports, but found it was protected by the First Amendment.
Now Chicago politicians are planning to introduce an ordinance this month to remove the name from the building and hotel, which is owned by the Trump Organization.
The ordinance would ban any person convicted of treason, sedition or subversive actions from doing business with the city, the Chicago Tribune reports. That would in effect rule out such a person having a permit for a sign.
Alderman Gilbert Villegas, who is proposing the move, believes the president’s second impeachment could allow the ban to be applied to Trump.
Speaking after last week’s riot, Villegas said: “It was very sickening to see, and we got to send a message.”
Another city alderman, Brendan Reilly of 42nd Ward, where the building stands, added: “I’m tired of the daily reminder of the carnage this man has inflicted upon our country,” in a statement to ABC7.
The Trump Organization has been contacted for comment.