Airbnb may have recently overhauled its listing policies to discourage racial discrimination among its hosts, but that doesn’t mean it has managed to cleanse its property-rental app of all internalized biases—particularly against Trump supporters.
Donald Trump’s inauguration in January has his legions of fans from across the country snapping up houses and apartments on Airbnb with abandon, especially as Democrats, who booked their short-term leases months ago in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton inaugural, are canceling.
But even though cancelation rates are hovering around 70%, some DC homeowners say they feel “conflicted” about renting to Trump’s supporters and are taking down their Airbnb listings to avoid having to share their homes and properties with the residents of flyover country.
“I have a visceral reaction to the thought of having a Trump supporter in my house,” said one host, who was planning on renting one of three of her bedrooms to an inauguration guest. “No amount of money could make me change my mind. It’s about moral principles.”
Another host, identifying herself as “Meredith,” told the Huffington Post that she was concerned about what Trump supporters would do to her condo, particularly to the “priceless” works of art she’d collected on her international travels. “We don’t trust Trump supporters to stay in our place,” Meredith said—though she did note that she didn’t mind overcharging (or “gouging”) Trump-loving guests as punishment for their support, if the opportunity presented itself.
Yet another, Ellie, said she was “feeling afraid” of “the white men” who might want to rent a bedroom in her home. She noted that she needed the money, however, and would just have to “look past our differences and happily welcome them.”
Ellie may have the right idea: the average nightly rate for an Airbnb in downtown Washington, D.C., hovers around $150. For the inauguration, some apartments and condos within walking distance of the inauguration festivities are booking for between $600 and $800 per night.