By Ryan Velez
Raw Story reports that Donald Trump’s sons are planning to invest in luxury resorts in some of the poorest corners of America, but the exact nature of these hotels is certain to raise some eyebrows.
What they are calling “an American Idea,” is going to be the Trump Organization taking over and reopening two former Comfort Inns and Rodeway Inns, bringing them to “Trump standards,” according to the Washington Post.
“It is nearly unheard of for a national hotel company to debut hotel lines in one of America’s poorest corners, surrounded by cotton and soybean fields and lacking a commercial airport or even an easily accessed interstate,” The Post wrote of the 100-room Scion hotel.
In these cotton fields, the Trump Organization is planning to design an “antebellum plantation” in towns near Cleveland, Mississippi. The town doesn’t necessarily strike one as a place full of luxury consumers. The town population is just barely over 12,000 people with a majority African-American citizenry. The hotel is pitching the area as an area where “the blues can be celebrated.” Some have called this “a plan that some black residents view as Trump’s effort to monetize the threadbare music invented by slaves in the Mississippi cotton fields.”
To put the economic circumstances of the area in perspective, the city lists 53.3 percent of children there are living in poverty and a 2015 census data shows 59 percent of households make less than $35,000 a year. This is exacerbated by the closing of factories during the recession, which has led to many people in the area looking for work.
“It shows he really doesn’t have a conscience. It’s about money,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-MS) told The Post.
Not everyone in the area feels that way, though, as an area desperate for economic involvement is resulting in many desperate people choosing between their feelings and their needs. Ellis Turnage, a local attorney representing the town’s Black residents in a voting rights lawsuit, explained that “people are looking for something that’s going to raise Mississippi up off the bottom,” he explained.
With this said, there’s quite a difference between getting workers and getting people to stay in the hotel. The Trump name is unlikely to carry much weight with African-Americans in the area looking for a hotel to stay in, for reasons practically too numerous to name.
“I think if the Trumps’ bottom-line profits for a hotel in the Mississippi Delta are predicated on Black people coming and spending money, I think they are in serious trouble,” said Rep. Thompson.