The Scion hotel is designed to take advantage of the Delta as a growing destination for blues enthusiasts, a plan that some black residents view as Trump’s effort to monetize the threadbare music invented by slaves in the Mississippi cotton fields.
“It shows he really doesn’t have a conscience. It’s about money,” Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who is black and represents the area, said in a phone interview.
The president has said he does not defend white supremacy and his comments about the NFL were not about race.
Ellis Turnage, a black attorney and Democrat who has represented black residents of Cleveland in voting rights lawsuits, said he thinks acceptance of the Trump hotels will hinge on whether economic arguments prevail over political ones.
“People are looking for something that’s going to raise Mississippi up off the bottom,” he said.
Turnage said he does not have a single friend who admits to voting for Trump. But when it comes to the new hotels, he said, “I don’t see that as an issue. I mean, Cleveland needs hotels.”