When presidential candidate Donald Trump tweeted his experience at a Holiday Inn Express, the missive set off a self-sustaining feedback loop that both lauded and lampooned the brand in question – both Trump and Holiday Inn.
On the surface, an “attaboy” from a hotel mogul is a strong endorsement for a hotel chain. They offered good service, Trump, and his entourage appreciated it … end of story, right? Chalk it up as a win.
Not so fast…
In the context, it’s tough to forget the constant commercials from Holiday Inn Express in which unqualified people unfamiliar with a certain job are suddenly able to do things like perform surgery or stop a nuclear cataclysm because they slept at Holiday Inn Express.
And, of course, political newcomer Trump wants to occupy the top political position on the planet…with exactly zero experience. You can see where this is going. And it got ugly fast.
Soon there was a cacophony of voices slamming Trump in various creative and some not so creative ways. Par for the course these days on social media, really … it’s what came of all that arguing that gave both sides some meat on the bone they keep chewing.
By the end of the night, not only was Holiday Inn Express trending on Twitter, but someone had unearthed another story about Trump many people have never heard before.
Trump has a connection with Holiday Inn that, according to his book “Art of the Deal” goes back decades. Back then, he was trying to get the Holiday Inn folks to invest in one of his casino projects, but construction fell behind. So Trump told his construction manager to bring in some heavy equipment and “look busy” … didn’t matter what they were doing as long as they were moving dirt. The ruse worked, and Holiday Inn invested in the deal. Trump supporters said, “well done, Donald, you got the deal and built something good.” But others took a more negative direction with their commentary.
Regardless of which side viewers took, the exchange gave them concrete history on which to base their position. On one side you have the folks who celebrate Trump’s ability to get the job done and get the deal made. On the other you have those who say it’s another example of how his campaign is all about smoke and mirrors.
David Firester is an intelligence analysis expert in New York.