Though LGBTQ and Muslim groups—not to mention celebrities like Meryl Streep and the cast of “Hamilton”—have made little secret of their concerns over Trump’s talk, Dominguez says one thing to keep in mind is most legislation affecting most groups comes on a state level, not a federal one. Congress has already indicated it does not plan to act on immigration policy until court battles play out, and the administration has added LGBT federal workers’ rights will be preserved. “I don’t think he has the ability or intent to try anything radical,” says Van Deventer.
Anecdotal evidence suggests hate groups feel more brazen since Trump was elected. For example, videos showed a white supremacist group using Nazi expressions and gestures saluting Trump at an event in Washington, D.C., in November 2016. Even though the president has condemned such organizations, LGBTQ and other groups may feel unwelcomed at certain destinations and venues. Related, the political climate seems to be opening the door for similar legislation to North Carolina’s HB2 Law (aka the “bathroom bill”) in states like Virginia and Texas. Several high-profile events, including the NBA All-Star Game, relocated out of North Carolina over the law. Other states could take a financial hit going down the same path.
While it may not seem this way to everyone, the country is not more divided than it’s ever been, says Russell. “The country is pretty much 48-48 and everyone is fighting over that 4 percent,” he says, noting the civil rights movement and post-Vietnam era are examples of more contentious times than now. “It’s been that way since Reagan’s second term.” Dominguez adds national politics typically don’t enter the equation much with meetings, at least compared to the business climate. So whether certain groups view the president unfavorably or not, events will go on as usual. “You’re not going to boycott the whole country,” he says. Dominguez also notes hotels will have to continue to monitor what groups are booking event space by doing due diligence. “That is Sales 101. When [hate groups] slip in, we are not doing a good job at doing our job,” he says.