Respect the coconut trees, the Balinese say.
Days after President Donald Trump took office, one of his company's planned hotels is seeing backlash from Balinese locals.
The problem? They say the planned structure will anger the gods that inhabit the island, Bloomberg reported.
The planned Trump International Hotel and Tower Bali is a joint effort with a local Indonesian developer. It would renovate an existing hotel to turn it into a much larger resort, complete with a tower and golf course.
The hotel would overlook the 16th century Tanah Lot temple, which locals believe is inhabited by Hindu gods. No one is allowed to build higher than the height of a coconut tree, or the gods would be angered, according to local lore—and the Trump International Hotel would far exceed that.
“I would strongly recommend against any new developments that impact the temple,” said I Gusti Ngurah Sudiana, the local chief of Parisada Hindu Dharma Indonesia, the country’s top Hindu organization, according to the same Bloomberg report. “These things are sensitive in Bali. The Balinese don’t tend to speak up, but these things related to the sacredness of the temple are very sensitive, only the enforcement is too weak.”
During his time brokering the deal for the Indonesian hotel, Trump also became friendly with Setya Novanto, the country’s speaker of the house of representative who was temporarily removed from office after attempting to extort $4 million from a U.S. mining company, the Atlantic reported.
Trump called Novanto “an amazing man” at an event in September 2015, causing concerns over potential conflicts of interest for the real estate mogul-turned-president.
The president put his two sons in charge of the company when he took office. Critics have repeatedly called on Trump to divest his holdings from Trump Organization as he serves office, and the president has refused.
Trump Hotels did not immediately respond to a request for comment.