The Trump Organization will not move forward with ambitious expansion plans for two hotel chains across the US, citing a toxic political climate for the Trump brand.
President Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump, who took over the business when his father assumed office, said in a statement that the company was walking away in the face of “harassment.”
“We live in a climate where everything will be used against us, whether by the fake news or by Democrats who are only interested in Presidential harassment and wasting everyone’s time, barraging us with nonsense letters,” Eric Trump said.
He continued: “We already have the greatest properties in the world and if we have to slow down our growth for the time being, we are happy to do it.”
The New York Times was first to report the change of plans on Thursday.
Early on in Trump’s presidency, his sons Eric and Donald Jr. embarked on plans to launch two new hotel chains – Scion and American Idea – in dozens of cities.
At the time, Eric Trump said the plans reflected the ambitions of “the next generation of the company,” according to the Times.
The Trump Organization faced local pushback from potential Scion deals in cities like Dallas and St. Louis, according to the Times. Some potential development partners were spooked by the media coverage and legal and financial vetting they believed they would have to endure if they worked with the organization, people briefed on the matter told the Times.
They also told the Times the Trump Organization is giving up on more than a dozen deals in Washington, DC, and at least five states.
Donald Trump Jr. said in a statement obtained by CNN, “When politics are over, we will resume doing what we do best which is building the best and most luxurious properties in the world – the interest in the Trump brand has never been stronger.”
The Trumps had announced a deal where they would collaborate with Mississippi local hoteliers Dinesh and Suresh Chawla. Dinesh Chawla posted a statement from his brother and him on Facebook that reads, “We are honored to have had the opportunity to work with the Trump Organization. Don, Eric and the entire Trump Hotels Team are fantastic people, and their family helped launch our path to the American Dream 30 years ago,” adding that they “understand their position completely and are grateful for their professionalism.”
“We hope that when the time is right, we can work with Trump Hotels again,” the statement reads.
Eric Trump said that when his father took office “we made countless … sacrifices as a family and as a company” and “walked away from billions of dollars’ worth of deals and ceased virtually all expansion.”
The President previously told the Times, “I lost massive amounts of money doing this job,” adding, “This is one of the great losers of all time.”
The withdrawal from the hotel plan comes weeks after New York federal prosecutors requested interviews with executives at the organization, which is still owned by the President. The interview requests signal a growing potential threat to the President and those in his orbit from criminal investigations.