Both Donald Trump’s organization and Macy’s issued statements this week reaffirming that are unmoved by the nearly 600,000 people who have signed a petition asking the retail giant to drop its association with the reality star.
“Macy’s marketing and merchandise offerings are not representative of any political position,” Macy’s spokesman Jim Sluzewski told BusinessWeek. “Many of the individuals associated with products sold at Macy’s—or at any retailer, for that matter—express personal opinions that are not related to the merchandise we sell or to the philosophies of our company.”
Macy’s also rejects the interpretation of its hallmark Christmas ad that is clearly a reference to Trump’s birtherism.
The response from Team Trump was, predictably, more pointed.
“What I find incredulous is that the creator of the petition is protecting his First Amendment right to free speech while simultaneously trying to impede upon Mr. Trump’s,” Michael Cohen, executive vice president and special counsel to Trump, told Celebuzz. “It’s ironic.”
Of course, the First Amendment prohibits the Congress from make any law prohibiting free expression. Nowhere in the Constitution is an individual protected from the consequences of expressing offensive opinions.
Angelo Carusone, who started the petition, believes this movement is all about consequences.
“Trump’s brand is consequence-free bullying,” he said. “That doesn’t reflect well on Macy’s. People expect more from Macy’s.”
Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren defended the partnership with Trump in an email to Carusone Wednesday, saying that they provide a broad array of products to provide customers with choices.
“Please understand and appreciate that Macy’s marketing and merchandising offerings are not representative of any political position. Ours is a free society compromised of a wide range of viewpoints,” he wrote.
Since the middle of 2011, Trump has been the country’s most famous “birther.” A week before the election he was still demanding the president release his passport records, implying that his citizenship is still an unsettled matter. In this accusation is the charge that the president is committing both fraud and treason. That’s some “personal opinion.”
Some believe that the best way to punish Trump is to ignore him—this has resulted in his experiencing no consequences for his outbursts. Apparently he is so popular that Macy’s is willing to suffer any negative associations—even as it begins its crucial holiday shopping season and its Facebook page is being overrun with negative comments about the reality TV star.
If there’s ever been someone who believes that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, it’s Donald Trump. And for now, it appears Macy’s agrees.