Donald Trump and Rahm Emanuel Fighting Over a Matter of Taste

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Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images; Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Former Obama White House Chief of Staff and current Chicago Mayor Rahm "Rahmbo" Emanuel and Donald "The Short-Fingered Vulgarian" Trump are both deeply committed to yelling and fighting, so it's not exactly a surprise to see them getting into it with each other. At issue is downtown Chicago's 96-floor Trump International Hotel and Tower, onto which Trump has just installed a sign reading — you guessed it! — TRUMP in 20-foot-tall, illuminated letters. 

For some reason, the Chicago Tribune's Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic, Blair Kamin, thinks that the sign demonstrates "a lack of subtlety," "brashness," and Trump's signature "egotistical overstatement." "If this sign was in Atlantic City or Las Vegas, nobody would care — but it is in Chicago, and in a part of Chicago full of great buildings from the 1920s to the 1960s and onward," he wrote. The building's own architect, Adrian Smith, feels the same way. As he put it in a statement, "[The TRUMP sign] is in poor taste, it hurts the image of the building, [and] hurts the image of Chicago."

Workers install the final letter for a giant TRUMP sign on the outside of the Trump Tower on June 12, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. Many in the city are opposed to the sign including Mayor Rahm Emanuel who has called it tacky and tasteless. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Emanuel concurs with Kamin and Smith: The day after one of the mayor's spokesmen, Bill McCaffrey, declared the Trump insignia "awful," another one of his representatives, Kelly Quinn, added, "Mayor Emanuel believes this is an architecturally tasteful building scarred by an architecturally tasteless sign." Unsurprisingly, Trump disagrees. "The fact is that people love it, and it's a very high-level sign. It's done in the highest level of taste, done by one of the great sign designers. So far, so good," said a man whose aesthetic preferences have long been a national punch line. "We are getting calls by the literally hundreds and thousands, including tweets on Twitter that people just love it," Trump insisted. 

Unfortunately for the people of Chicago (and, we suppose, fortunately for the several misguided souls who have, in fact, been tweeting praise at Trump), Emanuel might not be able to rid his city of the eyesore. An even-bigger version of sign was originally approved by his predecessor, Richard Daley, and it seems that Chicago's City Council signed off on the current one before Emanuel knew about it. "The sign — which was already reduced in size and scope — does comply with the provisions of the planned development ordinance and the City Council sign order," acknowledged Quinn. "But he has asked his staff to determine if there are any options available for further changes." In other words, Emanuel might be stuck with his Trump stamp.