Giving his presidential stamp of approval. Donald Trump encouraged his followers to buy L.L. Bean products in a controversial tweet on Thursday, January 12, amid calls to boycott the company because of a Bean heiress’ donations to a pro-Trump group.
The trouble started last week, after the Associated Press reported that L.L. Bean heiress and board member Linda Bean had contributed $30,000 to the pro-Trump PAC Make Maine Great Again, well over the $5,000 limit individual contributors are allowed. The Federal Election Commission issued a letter the PAC demanding that it own up to wrongdoing or face a possible audit, according to the AP.
Also as a result of the allegations, the organizers of anti-Trump movement Grab Your Wallet, which compiles a list of companies that have affiliations with the Trump family, called for a boycott of L.L. Bean. (Other companies that are on the list include big retailers like Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, which carry Ivanka Trump products, as well as other entities like See’s Candies and New Balance, which have publicly lent their support to the president-elect.)
L.L. Bean’s executive chairman, Shawn Gorman, responded to the call for a boycott with a post to Facebook on Sunday, January 8, declaring that the company “does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions.” “Simply put,” he wrote, “we stay out of politics. To be included in this boycott campaign is simply misguided, and we respectfully request that Grab Your Wallet reverse its position.”
Grab Your Wallet has not yet removed L.L. Bean from its long roster of companies.
Bean herself appeared on Fox & Friends on Thursday, January 12, calling the boycott a form of “bullying” and insisting that she did nothing wrong. “I’m not going to back down,” she said. “I never back down if I feel I’m right.”
Trump, 70, added fuel to the fire later on Thursday by endorsing the company and personally thanking Bean and saying her support will be good for business. “Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L. Bean for your great support and courage,” he tweeted. “People will support you even more now. Buy L.L. Bean. @LBPerfectMaine.” This is not the first time that Trump has tweeted about private companies, including messages about Ford and Carrier, trying to get them to stay in the USA.
Twitter users were not pleased with the real estate mogul’s message and reacted passionately on the social media platform.
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