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President-elect Donald Trump lashed out at designer Tom Ford this week when asked by Fox News anchor Ainsley Eardhardt about designers refusing to dress Melania Trump, including Tom.
“Never asked Tom Ford, doesn't like Tom Ford, doesn't like his designs,” Trump said, apparently referring to Melania. “Tom Ford is an example — ‘I will not dress the First Lady.’ He was never asked to dress. And Steve Wynn just called me and he said he thought it was so terrible what Tom Ford said, that he threw his clothing out of his Las Vegas hotel. I'm not a fan of Tom Ford, never have been.”
The “never asked” isn’t entirely true (apparently Ford was asked to dress her “quite a few years ago,” he said on The View). What does appear to be true: Wynn Las Vegas removed the Tom Ford line of cosmetics and sunglasses from its retail locations last weekend, a Wynn Las Vegas representative confirmed to Racked. (He declined to offer additional comment.)
A precedent has now seemingly been set and the implications could be very real: What if stores stop carrying brands or products Trump doesn’t like?
Whether due to a preexisting relationship with the President-elect (as seems to be the case with Steve Wynn) or negative tweets (Trump’s preferred method of communication), stores could easily feel the pressure to fall in line with presidential preferences. Trump has already shown he’ll use Twitter to sound off on brands, as he did with L.L.Bean, posting a tweet that read like sponsored content.
Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean. @LBPerfectMaine— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2017
The exact consequences for brands mentioned on Trump’s feed, from clothing companies to car manufacturers, are unclear. Reactions to the L.L.Bean tweet included Trump fans declaring their loyalty to the brand, while others reiterated their commitment to boycotting it, as they have for the other Trump-associated brands on the #GrabYourWallet boycott list. How it has affected L.L.Bean sales remains to be seen.
However, after Trump called BuzzFeed a “failing pile of garbage” at a press conference, the website turned the quote into merch, selling $25,000 worth in a flash sale. Trump’s diss of Congressman and civil rights champion John Lewis on Twitter not only met swift backlash, but also sent sales of Lewis’ book soaring.
Trump has given no indication he’ll stop endorsing or dissing brands to his 20.3 million Twitter followers once he takes office on Friday. For stores concerned, it may come down to whose wrath they want to incur: Trump supporters or detractors.
Update: January 19th, 2016, 9:18 a.m.
This post has been updated to include comment from Wynn Las Vegas to Racked.