Is This Trump’s Backup Plan If He Loses the Election?

A curious trademark hints at a future Trump venture.

Evan Vucci/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


This spring, as Donald Trump battled Ted Cruz in the heated Republican primary campaign, the mogul was also tending to his day job, with his business empire staking a claim to some new corporate territory. On April 11—a day when media reports noted Trump had been oddly silent and out of sight following his recent defeat in the Wisconsin primary—a Trump-owned company applied for a trademark on a brand new hotel concept. It was dubbed “American Idea.”

According to the trademark filing made by DTTM Operations LLC, a Delaware-based company Trump set up in January to manage his trademarks, the GOP nominee was reserving “American Idea” for use in an unspecified hotel services, spa, and/or personal concierge business. Could it be that the candidate running under the banner of “Make America Great Again” was devising a plan to capitalize on Trump-style patriotism for a new hotel or chain of hotels with some sort of America theme? Was this Plan B? A way to convert his campaign into a commercial success, if voters fail to elect him the nation’s next CEO?

Hope Hicks, the Trump campaign spokeswoman, did not respond to a request for comment.

Something seems to be in the works for Trump and a new sort of hotel. Weeks after his company applied the American Idea trademark, it submitted another filing for a similar name. On May 5—the same day that Trump tweeted his appreciation for Hispanics based on his passion for taco bowls—DTTM Operations filed a trademark application “Idea Hotels.” And on July 1, DTTM Operations applied for a trademark on the word “Scion” for use in real estate management.

There’s no telling if these applications indicate anything concrete is in the works. In the past, Trump has trademarked a wide array of ideas that never progressed beyond the concept stage (see the “Trumptini” and the “GoTrump” travel agency). But Trump’s trademark applications can provide insight into his future endeavors. For example, in November 2012, long before he announced a presidential run, Trump trademarked his catchphrase, “Make America Great Again” for use with a political committee.

By the way, Melania Trump, too, has been busy trademarking. She has largely been out of sight since her speech at the GOP convention in Cleveland was found to be partially cribbed from Michelle Obama. But on  August 11, she applied for a trademark on her name for use in jewelry sales. She already has an existing line of jewelry (which she hawks on QVC), and it is unclear if the new trademark covers that or is for an expansion of her business. Whatever the case, perhaps she, too, is thinking of what to do after Election Day.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate