Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the United States is just the latest move from the mogul to hit him where it hurts most: the wallet. A major retailer in the Middle East announced it was dropping Trump's home products from its stores following the GOP candidate's comments, reported CNN Money Wednesday.
Dubai-based Lifestyle, a home decor chain, said it planned to remove all Trump-branded products from its 195 stores across the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Tanzania. "In light of the recent statements made by the presidential candidate in the U.S. media, we have suspended sale of all products from the Trump Home décor range," said Lifestyle Chief Executive Officer Sachin Mundhwa, according to CNN Money.
Trump has defended his call Monday for a "total and complete" travel ban for Muslims, which was announced in a statement that referenced the "great hatred" that "large" segments of the Muslim population hold against Americans. Billionaire Trump has numerous business interests in the Middle East, including luxury golf resorts in Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, International Business Times previously reported. His organization signed its first agreement in 2013 for Damac Properties, a Dubai-based development company, to operate Trump International Club Dubai. A second Trump club is expected to open in the city, a popular vacation spot, by the end of 2017.
Damac, which is also building the new Dubai club, said it would continue its business with Trump. "Our agreement is with the Trump Organization as one of the premium golf course operators in the world and as such we would not comment further on Mr. Trump's personal or political agenda, nor comment on the internal American political debate scene," said Niall McLoughlin, senior vice president at DAMAC Properties, in a statement.
But others from majority-Muslim countries have said the business implications for Trump could be significant. "I think he damaged all his brand in all the Muslim countries ... nobody will accept him," said Dubai property mogul Khalaf Al-Habtoor to CNN. Al-Habtoor also said Trump likely hurt his prospects of future projects in the region.
“Muslims have invested hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars [in America], creating jobs for Americans. They can go invest it somewhere else,” he said, according to Reuters.
Trump's daughter, Ivanka, previously said the Trump Organization was looking into further expansion into the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. "We haven’t made a final decision in any of the markets, but we have many very compelling deals in each of them,” she said to Hotelier Middle East, a trade publication. “I think there is an opportunity to exceed what’s [already] been done in the Middle East, and [we can] create something truly iconic and special. We always love developing in places where people have bold visions -- and that’s very true here in the Middle East.”