The Trump Organization has never been shy about profiting off of Donald Trump’s position as president. But being associated with a hate-mongering, would-be authoritarian isn’t always good for the bottom line. An acknowledgment of that came in recent weeks when the Trump Organization stripped the president’s name from its ice-skating rinks in New York City, according to the Washington Post.
“It’s a complete rebranding,” Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates told the Post. Trump’s name, once splashed all over Wollman Rink and Lasker Ring, is now hard to find, according to reports in the Post and the Times. It’s gone from the boards surrounding the ring, the skate-rental desks, and the employee uniforms. It’s still on the Zamboni, but Croft told the Post that’s coming off too.
The changes did not come at the request of the city, which owns the rinks and has a contract with the Trump Organization to operate them. The Trump Organization made this decision on its own. One theory why: The rinks suffered a slight dip in revenue in recent years and the Trump Org is trying to hide its association with a guy who’s largely despised in NYC. The Times reports:
In the operating year that ended on Sept. 30, 2015, the rinks generated about $8.9 million. The figure climbed to $9.3 million in the next operating year, which ended shortly before Mr. Trump became president. In the 12 months that ended on Sept. 30, 2018, annual revenue had dropped to about $8.7 million.
There’s no way to know if this decline is due to anti-Trump sentiment, but there’s at least a little anecdotal evidence. In 2017, a Wollman Rink party for students of the tony Upper East Side Dalton School was reportedly canceled because of its association with Trump.
Another theory, shared with the Times by Democratic city councilman Mark Levine, is that the company is trying to prevent upheaval when its contract to run the rinks comes up for renewal in 2021. “They don’t want the public to associate the Trump name with these properties,” Levine told the paper. “They know that there would be too much public pressure against renewal.”
Levine has argued in the past that the city should preemptively sever its contracts with the Trump Organization because the company is “deeply entangled in a criminal conspiracy.”
Trump’s name has been stripped from other properties in New York City, but this appears to be the first time the Trump Organization did the stripping itself.