Donald Trump insists the moniker on his Chicago building is perfect for the city and says outcry against it was started by a "third rate" journalist.
The real estate mogul joined NBC News' "Today" program on Friday morning to counter the criticism coming from the mayor's office about the 20-foot-tall, illuminated letters on the city's second-tallest building.
"The fact is that people love it, and it's a very high-level sign. It's done in the highest level of taste, done by one of the great sign designers. So, you know, so far so good," Trump said.
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An Emanuel spokeswoman on Thursday said the mayor believes the sign is a "tasteless" ornament to "an architecturally tasteful building" and said he was looking into ways to have it removed. The building's architect has also expressed his disapproval of the signage.
Trump said he hasn't spoken to the mayor or anyone in his office but reminded that the project wasn't done in secret.
"This is fully approved. Everybody knew about it. His administration knew about it. The previous administration approved it, and this has been approved for a long period of time," he said.
Trump added that his staff was receiving countless "tweets and letters and phone calls."
"Everybody loves it. We have people that just love it," he said. "The brand is very hot. We're probably the hottest brand there is. We're building all over the world, and cities love the brand."
An informal survey of TODAY viewers conducted during the live broadcast indicated "The Apprentice" star was right. A majority of the votes cast were in Trump's favor.
The investor then turned his sights on Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin, who he called a "third-rate architectural critic," for stoking the flames of criticism.
"He was gone for a long period of time. Most people thought he got fired. All of a sudden he re-emerges, and to get a little publicity he started this campaign," said Trump.
(Editor's Note, June 16: Kamin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, has been with the Chicago Tribune for more than 20 years and spent the 2013 academic year as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University. His employment with the Tribune was never terminated.)