Seattle City Council member Lorena Gonzalez. Photo: Seattle City Council/Flickr
Trump Hotels announced this week that it is considering building luxury hotels in 26 major US cities, reports Bloomberg. In Seattle, a city where only 8 percent of the population voted for Donald Trump, a large edifice with the Trump name printed on it is unlikely to earn a warm reception.
Policies enacted by Trump since his inauguration have already faced backlash in Seattle. On January 25th, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray held a press conference to speak out against Trump’s plans build a wall at the Mexican border and crack down on cities that offer refuge to undocumented immigrants.
Trump has threatened to strip all federal funding from sanctuary cities and counties like Seattle that protect the rights of undocumented immigrants. According to The Stranger, Seattle city agencies, including the police, do not ask about immigration status or cooperate in immigration proceedings. King County has a similar policy.
On the steps of Seattle’s City Hall, surrounded by hundreds of supporters, Murray said it was “the darkest day in immigration history in America since the internment of the Japanese Americans.” He commented that he’s prepared to lose “every penny” of federal money the city gets to protect undocumented immigrants and refugees.
“We will not be coerced, bullied, or otherwise forced to become an extension of the Department of Homeland Security,” added Seattle City Council member Lorena González, a first generation Mexican-American whose parents immigrated without documents. “Now is the time to double down on our values.”
Seattleites are also worried that Trump could exacerbate the city’s housing crisis. There’s concern that he will reduce federal aid for homelessness programs, though so far he has not indicated how much support he thinks the Department of Housing and Urban Development should give to such initiatives.
Trump Hotels manages eight namesake hotels in the US, some of which the Trump family owns. Democratic lawmakers and many ethics experts have said Trump should divest his holdings entirely to avoid conflicts of interest. The expansion of his hotel chain has the potential to benefit from Trump’s actions and profile as president and provoke further controversy.
So far, Trump Hotels doesn’t appear to have filed paperwork for a hotel in Seattle. However, it’s possible that negotiations are being arranged secretly, as they were a decade ago, when the Trumps first tried to build in Seattle. They were in talks to buy property behind Bed, Bath & Beyond on Third Avenue, according to Seattle Met.
Whether this new attempt is successful remains to be seen. At this point, what’s clear is that a Trump hotel in Seattle will likely be met with loud and widespread resistance from those concerned about what his policies on immigration, housing and other issues could mean for the city.