Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has called Donald Trump a disgrace to the United States following his call for a ban on Muslims entering the country, and demanded the Republican front-runner withdraw from the US presidential race.
Trump triggered an international uproar when he made his comments in response to last week’s deadly shootings in California by two Muslims who authorities said were radicalised.
“You are a disgrace not only to the GOP but to all America,” Prince Alwaleed, the chairman of Kingdom Holding, said on his Twitter account, addressing Trump and referring to the Republican Party.
“Withdraw from the U.S presidential race as you will never win,” added the prominent Middle Eastern tycoon, a nephew of Saudi Arabia’s King Salman.
Within hours, Trump’s response came back, also on Twitter.
“Dopey Prince @Alwaleed_Talal wants to control our U.S. politicians with daddy’s money,” he said. “Can’t do it when I get elected.”
Trump’s comments have already cost him business in the Middle East, with a major chain of department stores dropping his glitzy ‘Trump Home‘ line of lamps, mirrors and jewellery boxes.
On Thursday, Dubai real estate firm Damac, which is building a $6 billion golf complex with Trump, stripped the property of his name and image.
Bulent Kural, the general manager of Trump Towers in Istanbul, said on Thursday that his company “regrets and condemns” Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the US. The towers are another project for which Trump licensed his brand.
“We are assessing the legal dimension of our relationship with the Trump brand,” a statement from Kural said.
Trump increasingly has used such a licensing model in recent years, lending out his name to others around the world rather than developing big real estate projects himself. Fellow developers have praised Trump as a pioneer of what they call a nearly risk-free business.
Trump’s comments are playing well in some quarters in the USA: 42 percent of Republican voters support his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the US, according to a NBC/WSJ poll. By comparison, 75 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of independents disagree.