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Report: The Presidency Appears to Have Caused Trump’s Brand to Decline

Jan. 16, 2018

Report: The Presidency Appears to Have Caused Trump’s Brand to Decline

The Political Limelight Has Given Commercial Brand a Large Platform, But Attention Also Brings Damning Criticism

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Even with a larger platform, President Donald Trump’s brand appears to be on the decline since the 2016 election, according to a new Public Citizen-chaired Corporate Reform Coalition report released today.

“Despite increased visibility for the Trump commercial brand through the presidency, the Trump brand is actually on the decline since Donald Trump decided to run for president,” said Ciara Torres-Spelliscy, associate professor of law at Stetson University College of Law and author of the report. “With such an eponymous brand it is impossible to separate the man from the brand and with increasing criticism of Trump as president, his brand is not likely to escape the effects of that criticism.”

“It is clear that when companies engage in politics they are taking on some potential risk to their brand, as their customers and the public at large come in all political stripes,” said Lisa Gilbert, vice president of legislative affairs for Public Citizen. “The risk is compounded when companies hide their engagement from their shareholders and customers. It’s just smart business for companies to practice comprehensive political spending disclosure.”

Partners in the Corporate Reform Coalition, which Public Citizen co-founded, for years have called for companies to publicly disclose their engagement in politics through support for disclosure shareholder resolutions. The coalition also has called on large mutual funds like Vanguard to use their corporate voting power to support disclosure.

As America approaches the first anniversary of the Trump administration and the eighth anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s disastrous 2010 Citizens United decision, which opened the floodgates for secret corporate money to flow into our elections, the report finds that no corporate brand is immune from the effects of being engaged in politics – not even the president’s.

View the report here.