The public shaming of White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Saunders, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and other Trump minions has had an impact upon members of 45’s administration. The ironic claims by his lieutenants that they are the victims of an uncivil society ring hollow along with the tongue-clucking and head-shaking of the conservative pundits who are astounded by how “rude” the public can be. Fortunately, these anguished cries of bigots, homophobes and fascists claiming to be victims have not deterred right-thinking Americans from shaming these heartless ghouls and calling them out for who they are. This is a tactic that should continue.
But shaming his subordinates has little effect on Trump himself. He is a man without loyalty, empathy or shame. Being shameless, he does not understand how his flunkies could be shamed. Even if he did understand, he would have no empathy for them in their discomfort. And having not an ounce of loyalty, he would not be inclined to help them in any case.
So, while the tactic of shaming is working on Trump’s lackeys, it would not work on him.
The only thing that motivates him, besides his deep desire to protect his fragile ego, is money. If we want to hit him where it hurts, we must hit him in his wallet.
Just before the 2016 election, #grabyourwallet launched a boycott against companies that carried Trump branded products. Partly because of this, two years later Ivanka Trump announced that she was shutting down her fashion brand. Ivanka publicly blamed frustration with conflict of interest rules attached to her position in her father’s administration for her decision, but a spokesperson for #grabyourwallet told Elle.com there is a spike in the use of the hashtag encouraging people to boycott Trump-branded products every time Donald Trump says something racist or xenophobic.
Sears, Kmart, Nordstrom, QVC, Shoes.com, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s have stopped selling one or all the Trump brands. Reportedly, Wegmans, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx, TJX Cos. Belk, Dillard’s, Lord & Taylor, and Bon-Ton are being pressured to do likewise. Few of these retailers admit to discontinuing the Trump brands because of public pressure, but their denials are not convincing.
Donald Trump may prove to be more stubborn than his daughter, but it is not unreasonable to assume that the retail outlets will continue to drop his brands, thus hurting his bottom line.
Individuals with high visibility also can send a message to Trump, by way of his wallet. After the 2016 presidential election LeBron James and some of his team members with the Cleveland Cavaliers refused to stay at the Trump Soho hotel when they travelled to New York for a game, and the team’s management had to make other arrangements for them.
Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota has suggested that European nations place sanctions on the Trump brand, thereby effectively boycotting his enterprises. This idea also has been floated by news commentators abroad.
While Donald Trump is a problem for the entire globe, he is America’s responsibility because we elevated him into his position of power. And right-thinking Americans with an ounce of dignity should take him head-on by refusing to patronize any of the Trump-branded hotels, resorts or other properties and refusing to purchase any Trump-branded products, including clothing, home furnishings, wines, fragrances or any other consumable this huckster tries to foist off on the public.
Donald Trump loves being the boss, but he loves his wallet more. America must let him know that he is not “The Boss” of the United States, and we can do that by rejecting anything that bears his name.
Oscar H. Blayton is a former Marine Corps combat pilot and human rights activist who practices law in Virginia.