Macy’s Inc. and Donald Trump are in a war of words after the retailer said it would no longer carry The Donald’s products.
The retailer disclosed the decision Wednesday, several days after the developer and GOP presidential hopeful made disparaging remarks about Mexican immigrants, sparking a storm of protest. Trump, during his presidential kickoff speech on June 16, said Mexican immigrants are bringing drugs and crime to the U.S. and advocated creating a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border.
“Some decisions are very difficult to make,” Macy’s chairman and chief executive officer Terry J. Lundgren said. “But our company’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in all facets of the business, including in our relationships with business partners, is a strong guiding force.”
Macy’s said that along with the Trump men’s wear, the Trump fragrance would no longer be sold at the store.
But while Macy’s said it decided to drop Trump merchandise, Trump put a different spin on it — and went on the attack. “Macy’s choked under pressure,” Trump told WWD. “I hate chokers.”
Trump went on to say “Macy’s has been weak on illegal immigration. They want to be politically correct, but they’re taking the wrong stand on this. I have a very different stance. I am strong on border security and we must stop illegal immigration….I love Mexican people and the Mexican people love me. This has to do with border security and horrible trade deals. We are getting ripped off” in trade deals. Trump said he talked with Lundgren — who he is friendly with — about discontinuing his products, and said it was as much his decision as Macy’s. Asked how he felt about the outcome, Trump replied: “I’m fine with it. It’s absolutely fine. It’s not a big business compared to my real business.”
He added that he was never happy having his products manufactured in China which “manipulates currencies, making it impossible for this country to compete.” Then he added of his friend: “Terry took the politically correct route and that is the problem with this country.”
In an earlier statement, Trump expanded on his political views, taking a stand on China and overseas production. “I have never been happy about the fact that the ties and shirts are made in China, and should I start a new product line somewhere in the future, I would insist that they are made in America,” he said. “Quite frankly, I was never satisfied with manufacturing my product in China, but because of what they’ve done in terms of devaluing their currency, it is very hard for other companies to compete and make such apparel in the United States. These are the kinds of issues I am committed to addressing. Securing our border, negotiating trade deals that benefit the United States and bringing jobs back to America is my top priority.
“I have always said that if you are successful, it is very hard to run for office, especially the office of president. I have also continually stated that I am not beholden to anyone and this includes NBC and Macy’s. Clearly, NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration, which is totally detrimental to the fabric of our once great country. Both Macy’s and NBC totally caved at the first sight of potential difficulty with special interest groups who are nothing more than professional agitators, who are not looking out for the people they purport to represent, but only for themselves. It is people like this that are actually running our country because our leaders are weak and ineffective.”
Continuing to campaign, Trump said, “If elected, I will greatly strengthen our border, making it impenetrable, putting a stop to illegal immigration.”
Macy’s has exclusively sold Trump-labeled merchandise for about a decade, including men’s suits, shirts and accessories as well as the Trump fragrance “Success.” Lundgren and Trump, two of New York’s highest profile business kingpins, have been golf buddies, and Trump has appeared in Macy’s ads. Also, Macy’s is a strong supporter of the Ice Skating in Harlem program for young girls, which has held benefits at Trump Rink in Central Park, formerly called the Wollman Rink until the Eighties when Trump took the lead in renovating the rink.
Trump has a fragrance license with Parlux Ltd., which launched a new men’s scent, called Empire, at Macy’s exclusively during the spring. The scent is selling on plan, according to Donald Loftus, president of Parlux. As far as the controversy goes, Loftus had no comment since the company has not yet talked to Macy’s or the Trump organization.
Macy’s decision follows those by other corporations severing ties with Trump in the past few days. NBC said it would no longer broadcast the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, which have been conducted in a partnership between Trump and the network. Televisa in Mexico said it would not air the Miss Universe pageant. There have been reports that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim pulled the plug on a project with Trump involving Slim’s Ora TV station. And Farouk Systems Inc., a hair-care company, has decided to no longer sponsor Trump’s beauty pageants as well as Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” show.
Macy’s has steadily felt pressure to discontinue Trump goods by a petition circulating since 2012, organized by moveon.org and urging Macy’s to drop Trump for his inflammatory remarks. The petition has been signed by more than 725,000 people, according to Angelo Carusone, organizer of the petition and the “Dump Trump” campaign. “In the last few days, Donald Trump has demonstrated what participants in the ‘Dump Trump’ effort have been warning Macy’s about for years — that Donald Trump’s brand of bigoted bullying is simply bad for business,” Carusone said Wednesday. He credited Macy’s with making the right decision.
Ultimately, Macy’s determination was based upon its growing base of Latin customers and recently stepped up efforts to cater to Latinas with its Thalia private brand, which when launched last February, represented Macy’s biggest private brand launch to date. Thalia, the Mexican soap opera actress and songstress, is enormously popular with Latinas around the world. Currently, 16 percent of the store traffic at Macy’s is Latino. Executives expect the percentage to grow to 20 percent within a few years.
“Macy’s is a company that stands for diversity and inclusion,” the retailer said in a statement Wednesday. “We have no tolerance for discrimination in any form. We welcome all customers, and respect for the dignity of all people is a cornerstone of our culture. We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico. We do not believe the disparaging characterizations portray an accurate picture of the many Mexicans, Mexican Americans and Latinos who have made so many valuable contributions to the success of our nation. In light of statements made by Donald Trump, which are inconsistent with Macy’s values, we have decided to discontinue our business relationship with Mr. Trump and will phase-out the Trump men’s wear collection, which has been sold at Macy’s since 2004.”
Announcing his presidential bid at the Trump Tower in Manhattan, Trump said, “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”