Macy’s is the latest to dump Donald Trump over his comments on Mexican immigrants

Feeling the heat.
Feeling the heat.
Image: Reuters/Dominick Reuter
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Updated at noon ET on July 1 with Macy’s announcement and Trump’s statement

Donald Trump is well known as a real estate developer, television host, and the universe’s biggest pageant mom. He’s less recognized for his work in fashion. But Trump does, in fact, have a clothing line offering suits, shirts, and accessories for guys who, for whatever reason, may want to dress like him.

It’s sold mostly at Macy’s, but now—in the wake of Trump’s calling Mexicans “rapists” and criminals, which already prompted NBC and others to cut ties with him—Trump can say goodbye to that relationship as well.

Macy’s announced today (July 1) that it will end its business with Trump.

“We are disappointed and distressed by recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico,” Macy’s said in a statement. “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 menswear collection, which has been sold at Macy’s since 2004.”

Trump put out his own thoughts on the matter on his Instagram account. “I have decided to terminate my relationship with Macy’s because of the pressure being put on them by outside sources,” he wrote. “While selling Trump ties and shirts at Macy’s is a small business in terms of dollar volume, my principles are far more important and therefore much more valuable.”

“Clearly, NBC and Macy’s support illegal immigration,” he wrote, “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.”

Donald Trump's signature suiting on Macys.com
What will Macy’s shoppers do without their Donald Trump signature suiting?

The relationship was under increased pressure as a petition on MoveOn.org called for Macy’s to ditch Trump.

“We urge you to sever ties with him,” reads the petition, created by Angelo Carusone, executive vice president of progressive research center Media Matters. “Macy’s says it has a strong obligation to be ‘socially responsible’ and that ‘actions speak louder than words.’ Indeed. It’s time to act.”

In a statement following the news that Macy’s was ending its relationship with Trump, Carusone made the following remarks:

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. After more than three years of allowing Donald Trump’s toxic brand to turn off thousands of customers and damage their own reputation, Macy’s has finally made the right decision to stop investing in and supporting Donald Trump.

Beyond Trump’s latest comments, the petition lists the many other reasons that associating with Trump is bad for the Macy’s brand, alleging that he has a “long record” of “sexist behavior,” that he is hypocritical in complaining about American jobs going overseas while his own clothing line is manufactured in China, and that he has made “racially-charged” comments about US president Barack Obama.

Carusone had actually been down this path before, petitioning unsuccessfully to get Macy’s to cut ties with Trump in 2012. He cited a similar litany then of ”unpleasant, nasty and despicable behavior” by Trump, including his “birther” comments questioning whether Obama was eligible to be president.

The current petition, which has more than 728,000 signatures as of this writing, is actually an updated version of that original petition, meaning many of the signatures are carryovers. But more than 40,000 new signatures have been added in just the past few days.

Macy’s CEO Terry Lundgren, in an email to Carusone that was published by Buzzfeed, defended Trump in 2012, saying, “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. That is the nature of a free society.”

This time was different. Macy’s would have been left in a conspicuous position if it remained silent while NBC and others distanced themselves from Trump over his recent comments about Mexicans.

“What we’re seeing is a cascading response from his comments,” Dan Hill, president of strategy firm Ervin Hill, tells Quartz. “Now there’s a lot of pressure for organizations to respond.”

It’s also worth noting that Macy’s has been pushing to attract Hispanic shoppers of late, spending almost $37 million a year on courting them and even launching a well-publicized line with Mexican superstar Thalía. It’s a key demographic for Macy’s: The Hispanic population in the US wields an estimated $1.5 trillion in buying power. That’s a lot of dollars to win—or lose.