- President Donald Trump said Nike is one of his tenants and pays “a lot of rent” during an interview about the company’s controversial ad featuring Colin Kaepernick.
- The quote raised eyebrows, with some people wondering if Trump’s muted response to the Kaepernick ad could be attributed to the Trump Organisation’s business relationship with Nike.
- Nike announced in 2017 that it is planning on closing Niketown and moving out of the Trump Organisation-owned space.
President Donald Trump is speaking out about Nike’s new Colin Kaepernick ad. And, he apparently wants people to know that the sportswear brand is paying the Trump Organisation a lot of money for rent.
On Monday, news broke that Colin Kaepernick is starring in a new Nike ad. Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem before games in 2016 to protest racial inequality and police brutality. Some on the right, including Trump, saw the protest as disrespectful to the military, with Trump calling for players who protested to be fired.
In an interview with The Daily Caller on Tuesday, Trump said he thought that Nike was sending a “terrible message” with the ad, but that Nike was free to make the decision.
Trump was also quick to mention his own business relationship with Nike.
“Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot of rent,” Trump said.
Nike is, in fact, the Trump Organisation’s biggest tenant in a single space, with the company leasing 65,000 square feet of space on East 57th Street for Niketown.
But Trump’s quote raised some eyebrows. The president has been a vocal critic of players’ protests, with his influence reportedly contributing to the NFL’s and team owners’ decision to announce a policy that would force players to either stand for the anthem or stay in the locker room while it is being played. That policy has been on hold since the NFL Players Association filed a grievance in July, The Washington Post reported.
As a result, some wondered whether Trump tempered his response to Nike’s Kaepernick ad simply because the company is paying rent to the Trump Organisation.
Asked about the Nike-Kaepernick controversy, on which he has been conspicuously quiet, Trump says plainly: "Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot of rent."
Just FYI, in case you have a brand in need of POTUS tweet insurance https://t.co/JONvyP6m87
— Lachlan Markay (@lachlan) September 4, 2018
Trump talked to the Daily Caller about Kaepernick. If you're wondering why we haven't gotten a tweetstorm. Here's a clue: "Nike is a tenant of mine. They pay a lot in rent." https://t.co/AGjNqCi6bS
— Astead (@AsteadWesley) September 4, 2018
Interesting point about TRump's muted response to the Kaepernick-Nike thing, Niketown in NYC is in a Trump building and, as Trump himself admits, "They pay a lot of rent."
— Bob Bryan (@RobertBryan4) September 4, 2018
Representatives for Nike and the Trump Organisation did not immediately return Business Insider’s request for comment on Trump’s statements.
While Trump’s business relationship with Nike may have factored into his response, Nike announced in 2017 that it was planning on closing its store in the space it rents from the Trump Organisation. The decision comes as Nike prepares for the 2019 opening of its new store, just five blocks down Fifth Avenue. Niketown closed in March.
Nike’s move seems to be predominantly motivated by a change in its strategy, which is now focused on more experimental and modern conveniences that the ageing store couldn’t provide. However, in 2017, two anonymous Nike employees told Forbes that while space issues at Niketown were the biggest reason for the move, the association with Trump’s brand was only “a factor, to some degree.”
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.