Will the Trump Brand Suffer?

During the first frenzied days of the Trump administration, the new President made good on his intention to put America first by addressing his commitment to keeping manufacturing jobs at home. On April 18, 2017, the President signed, sealed and delivered on that promise by signing another executive order full of rewards and punishments to “Buy American, Hire American”.

As early as January 23, according to Fortune.com, “he told the CEOs in the White House—including Tesla’s Elon Musk, Under Armour’s Kevin Plank, Ford’s Mark Fields, and Dell Technologies’ Michael Dell— “When you have a company here, you have a plant here.” No such rule exists anywhere in law or regulation—many U.S. companies quite legally outsource all their production—yet it’s now effectively a new regulation, a dictate from the president himself. Ironically, Trump even told the room that keeping operations and jobs in the U.S. was part of the price they must pay for less regulation.”

Reporting on President Trump’s meeting with business leaders, NebraskaTV revealed that,

“In addition to hearing their concerns, Trump also made his concerns known, presenting carrots and sticks to the CEOs. According to reports from the meeting, Trump said he intended to ‘cut regulations by 75 percent, maybe more’ to make it easier to do business in the United States. But he also warned that companies seeking to offshore production and sell their goods back into the U.S. market would no longer get a free ride. ‘If you go to another country and you decide that you’re going to close and get rid of 2,000 people or 5,000 people … we are going to be imposing a very major border tax on the product when it comes in,’ Trump said.”

One wonders if these threats will be applied in equal measure to Trump family manufacturing businesses.

How will this plan, which is more likely to punish American consumers more than business, who forward all fees and taxes on to those who purchase their products, affect Donald Trump’s own companies? His clothing line is primarily manufactured in China, Bangladesh, Honduras, India, Mexico, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His home goods brand is manufactured in China, India, and Turkey, his furniture is made in Germany, crystal, and china made in Slovenia, and hotel goods made in China and Taiwan.

From nytimes.com:

At the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, a $35 blue cotton cap embroidered with “Trump National Golf Club” was made in Bangladesh. A Trump Tower hoodie from Pakistan set tourists back a cool $50.

President Trump’s daughter should be affected by her father’s decrees as well: According to the New York Times, “Almost all of her goods are made overseas, according to a New York Times review of shipments compiled separately by Panjiva and ImportGenius, two trade databases. ImportGenius tallied 193 shipments for imported goods associated with Ms. Trump for the year through Dec. 5, mostly Chinese-made shoes and handbags. Her dresses and blouses are made in China, Indonesia, and Vietnam, according to a review of hundreds of clothing tags and financial documents filed by G-III.” Time will tell whether the daughter, now ensconced in her own White House office will be compelled to comply with her daddy’s decrees.

The President’s directive restricting the allocation of coveted H-1B visas to only those most highly qualified candidates for employment in the U.S. is a slap in face to his own foreign-born third wife, who falsified her documents to obtain this immigration certificate. Shortly after her husband began campaigning for President, she stopped promoting her autobiography proudly claiming that she had earned a degree in Architecture at a Slovakian University. Actually, she dropped out early to begin her modeling career, making her way to the U.S. to work as a nude model before she was allowed to do so under our immigration laws. This opened the doors to access the wandering eye of Donald Trump, securing a lucrative marriage to the business tycoon after his divorce.

While lesser-known, start-up, and small manufacturing entrepreneurs may suffer under these new rules, clothing and product lines boasting the powerful and gilded Trump name may not experience a drop in sales resulting from passing penalties on to consumers. The inherent beauty and grace of our new First Lady will likely shield her from any backlash, as well.

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