Andrew Brickman has a few things in common with President Donald Trump. The Cleveland-area principal of Brickhaus Partners is a real estate developer who has been described by Cleveland.com as "anything but conventional." But he also has a novel approach when it comes to drawing attention to his company and himself — one that appears sharply critical of President Trump.
Along a swath of Lorain Avenue between West 20th and West 25th streets in Cleveland, Brickman has placed a succession of banners featuring memorable quotes and images from great U.S. presidents and other icons.
But alongside words of inspiration from the likes of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Harry S. Truman, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr., is a picture of Trump and his now infamous words, “Grab ’em by the p***y.”
Trump’s banner quote and his stance on immigration stand in stark contrast to the other presidents pictured – in particular a quote from Franklin D. Roosevelt, which reads, “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists.”
In a phone interview with 50 States of Blue, Brickman discussed his intent for the banners. He said he doesn’t identify specifically as a Republican or a Democrat and has voted both ways. The presidents depicted on the banners are representative of Republicans, Democrats, and Federalists to show as much inclusion as possible, he said.
Brickman also identified the #MeToo movement as part of the impetus for the banners. His primary intent, he said, was to promote and encourage diversity, cooperation, and discourse. Brickman also said he wants to bring an end to what he views as negativity and “rancor” caused by high-profile men accused of sexual harassment, Trump included.
As other examples, Brickman mentioned former U.S. Sen. Al Franken, real estate executive Steve Wynn, and TV journalist and talk show host Charlie Rose. Brickman sees sexual violence perpetrated by Trump and other powerful men, in addition to misogyny more broadly, as part of the subtext of the banners.
“It cuts both ways, though,” said Brickman, adding that powerful women should not be allowed to use their wealth and influence for purposes of abuse. (According to a poll conducted by Marist late last year, 35% of women and 9% of men say they have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Some reports indicate men are more often sexually harassed by other men than by women.)
Brickman said he supports Trump to some extent, primarily because he was “chosen by the electorate.” But he lamented that his fellow real estate developer is not unifying the country, and expressed the need for Trump to lead by example, instead of “fanning the flames of racism.” To date there has been no evidence of that, Brickman said.
When asked, Brickman said he has no political aspirations, but admitted he would never say never.