Trump image taken down from Dubai luxury golf course development

The signboard before (top) and after the removal of the Trump International Golf Club portion.
The signboard before (top) and after the removal of the Trump International Golf Club portion.PHOTO: REUTERS

DUBAI (Bloomberg) - An image of Donald Trump was taken down from a billboard advertising a golf course and luxury-housing development on the outskirts of Dubai as the backlash grows against the presidential candidate's proposal to bar Muslims from entering the United States.

Developer Damac Properties Dubai Co, which is building two Trump-branded golf courses along with 104 mansions, said on Tuesday (Dec 8) it would not comment on the "personal or political agenda" of the leading Republican candidate.

By Friday (Dec 11) morning, images of the US business mogul and his daughter, Ivanka, had disappeared from outside the Akoya real estate development.

A spokesman for Damac could not be reached for comment outside business hours.

Dubai's Landmark Group, one of the region's largest retailers, said Wednesday (Dec 9) that it is suspending sale of all products from the Trump Home decor range. Trump proposed banning Muslims from entering the US following a mass shooting in California that officials say was an act of terrorism by a radicalised Muslim couple.

Some Middle East executives began speaking out against him even before this week's controversy.

Billionaire Khalaf Al Habtoor, who described Trump as "a breath of fresh air among usual suspects" in August, has since changed his view. "I was wrong about Donald Trump and I don't mind admitting it," the Dubai hotel owner wrote in The National newspaper on Nov 25.

Damac began selling Trump-branded mansions with a starting price of 6.5 million dirhams (S$2.5 million) in March, the company said at the time. At a press conference in Dubai last year, Trump said the golf course and housing project would be completed in 2017 and that he would be responsible for managing the development for the next 25 years. A sign saying Akoya Trump remains at the entrance of the site.

It is not the first time that Trump's comments during his presidential bid have hurt his business interests. In an interview in July, he said that his characterisation of Mexican immigrants as violent criminals and "rapists" had lost him customers for his brand.

Macy's, Serta mattresses, Univision, Nascar, and NBC have all terminated agreements with Trump since he began his bid for the White House.

Still, support among voters continues to increase. A New York Times, CBS poll said Thursday (Dec 10) that Trump's support among Republican primary voters has gained 13 points to 35 per cent, his highest level yet.