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Street Sign Honoring Trump Still Up — 30 Days After Council Ordered It Down

By Heather Cherone | November 30, 2016 5:35am
 The sign honoring President-elect Donald Trump  outside Trump Plaza at Wabash Avenue and Hubbard Street.
The sign honoring President-elect Donald Trump outside Trump Plaza at Wabash Avenue and Hubbard Street.
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DNAinfo/Heather Cherone

DOWNTOWN — One month after the City Council ordered the remaining street sign honoring developer-turned-President-elect Donald Trump be taken down, the sign remains outside Trump Plaza at Wabash Avenue and Hubbard Street.

On Nov. 1 — a week before Trump shocked the world and defeated Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton — the Council unanimously voted to revoke the honor bestowed on the reality television star in 2006 while the 98-story Trump Tower and Hotel was under construction.

But since then, the sign has been untouched.

Susan Hofer, a spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, said removing Trump's sign was not a high priority for the department.

"Sign shop crews prioritize installing and replacing signs that are essential to public safety, including stop signs, do-not-enter signs, one-way signs and pedestrian-crossing signs," Hofer said in a statement.

A spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel referred questions to Hofer.

Emanuel, who has vowed to oppose any action by Trump to target undocumented immigrants in Chicago, said much of the city "woke up despondent" the morning after Election Day.

The mood was much different on Oct. 25, when Clinton appeared to be riding high in the polls as the council's Committee on Transportation and the Public Way met to consider taking down the sign.

Members did not mince words when talking about the man who is set to become the 45th president of the United States, despite losing the popular vote to Clinton by more than 2.2 million votes.

Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) said it was payback for Trump, who likened Chicago to a "war-torn country" in the first presidential debate Sept. 26.

"When you hit Chicago, Chicago hits back," Beale said. 

Beale and his colleagues were so eager to see the sign taken down, he promised to implement a rarely used parliamentary technique to speed its removal. The sign's twin was stolen Oct. 14, and has not been replaced.

At the meeting, Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said the sign honoring Trump should be removed because his comments as a presidential campaign "insulted anyone like me who loves this city."

Reilly had said he expected the sign to come down within days of the council's vote.

Reilly did not respond Monday or Tuesday to a message about the fate of the remaining sign honoring Trump.

In addition, it was not clear whether Reilly has returned $5,500 in campaign contributions the New York developer gave him several years ago. The Downtown alderman had pledged to do it on Nov. 9 — a day after the presidential election.

Emanuel has declined to return $50,000 Trump gave him five years ago.

Perhaps the city heeded the words of warning voiced a few days before the election by Ald. Patrick O'Connor (40th), Emanuel's floor leader in the City Council.

He told the Sun-Times that it was a mistake to pick a fight with Trump over the sign. The president-elect has written in his books and said often that he is driven by revenge and that it is a basic tool he uses in business.

"It will be a terrible thing for us personally in Chicago if he were to become president,” O'Connor said before the election.

That desire for payback could affect Chicago's ability to get federal approval for redevelopment projects or financing for other projects, such as the proposed extension of the CTA Red Line south to 130th Street.

Representatives of the president-elect did not return messages seeking comment about the honorary street sign.

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