The Trump Files: Donald Tried to Shut Down a Bike Race Named “Rump”

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In 1989, Donald Trump teamed up with college basketball analyst Billy Packer to host a bicycle race called the Tour de Trump. It ran from Albany, New York, to the Trump Plaza Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey, passing through Newark, and it was designed to serve as the American version of the famous Tour de France. It was a very Trump affair—one of the teams was sponsored by a Dutch brothel.

But there was another bicycle race that had just made its debut. Organizers in Aspen, Colorado, called their event the Tour de Rump, and its logo was a bicyclist with an oversized posterior.

Trump decided that the rights to the name “Trump” also extended to the word “rump,” and he quickly moved to have the competition squashed. As the Aspen Times reported:

Trump’s attorneys sent a letter to Tour de Rump organizer Ron Krajian. The lawyers contended that Tour de Rump violated the trademark for Tour de Trump, a road cycle race sponsored by Trump decades ago.

“You are using the name and mark Tour de Rump in connection with an ‘inaugural’ cycling event,” Trump’s counsel wrote. “Your use of that name and mark is likely to cause confusion and constitutes trademark infringement, unfair competition and false designation of origin, all in violation of applicable federal and state laws.

“Unless you give us your written assurance within 24 hours after receipt of this letter that you will forthwith cease and desist using the name and mark Tour de Rump, or any name or mark confusingly similar to Tour de Trump, we will institute legal action against you seeking injunctive relief, legal fees and actual and punitive damages.”

The Tour de Rump folks were not intimidated. They did not change the name, contending Trump had no case.

It didn’t take long for market forces to settle the matter. The Tour de Trump lasted two years—until Trump’s plunging finances forced him to turn over his sponsorship to the DuPont corporation. The Tour de Rump is still going strong.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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