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The Margin: Trump tweets ‘Don’t buy Goodyear Tires’ after company bans workers from wearing MAGA attire

The Margin

Meanwhile, the presidential limo known as “The Beast” has had custom Goodyear Tires for decades


MarketWatch photo illustration/Getty Images

The president is burning rubber.

Donald Trump endorsed a boycott of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co
GT,
-2.00%

on Wednesday morning over reports that the Akron, Ohio-based company was banning its workers from wearing Make American Great Again (MAGA) attire, but allowing Black Lives Matter gear.

“Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less!” Trump wrote on Twitter
TWTR,
+2.39%
.
“(This is what the Radical Left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now!).”

The Republican mayor of Coal Run, Ky., is already on board, telling right wing site Gateway Pundit that his town will no longer be using Goodyear tires for police, fire, and emergency vehicles.

Shares of Goodyear dropped 3.1% in afternoon trading on Wednesday off of the president’s tweet, while shares of rival tire maker Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
CTB,
+1.14%

and the U.S.-listed stock of Japan-based Bridgestone Corp.
BRDCY,
+1.05%

climbed.

Read more:Goodyear’s stock fall after Trump tweet urging boycott of company’s tires, while rivals’ shares gain

Perhaps the president was unaware that the presidential limousine, aka The Beast, is outfitted with custom Goodyear Tires. In fact, Goodyear has been “the exclusive tire for the presidential limo and the standard tire of the U.S. Secret Service” for decades, as the company noted in a 2009 statement.

When asked whether the president would stop using Goodyear Tires on “The Beast,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters on Wednesday that “I am not going to comment on security matters.” When asked whether not buying Goodyear Tires is official U.S. policy, she would only say that “the president was talking to his supporters.”

Several Trump critics, including Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and actress Mia Farrow, pointed out on Twitter that Goodyear’s headquarters are in Akron, Ohio — a key swing state in the November presidential election — and the company employs more than 60,000 people.

Kate Bedingfield, a spokeswoman for Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, said that Trump was “putting his own political interests ahead of the good of this country.”

This led to Goodyear becoming the top trending topic on Twitter early Wednesday afternoon, along with related terms such as Buy Goodyear, MAGA and #OhioForBiden.

The online uproar stemmed from an image that a Goodyear employee in Topeka, Kan., shared from a slide he claimed was shown in the company’s corporate office in Akron, as reported by Kansas TV station WIBW. It showed two categories of attire, “Acceptable” and “Unacceptable.” And while “Black Lives Matter” and “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride” gear were both considered acceptable, “Blue Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter” and “MAGA” were not, along with anything bearing “politically affiliated slogans or material.”

Goodyear did not immediately respond to a MarketWatch request for comment. But the company shared a statement on Twitter clarifying that the viral image was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, and it was not part of a diversity training class. But it still stood by the ban on political messaging that was featured in the picture.

“Goodyear has zero tolerance for any forms of harassment or discrimination. To enable a work environment free of those, we ask that associates refrain from workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party, as well as similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues,” the statement read.

As for accusations that banning “Blue Lives Matter” and “All Lives Matter” gear mean that Goodyear is anti-police, the company wrote, “Nothing could be further from the truth … this can’t be said strongly enough.”

“Goodyear has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so,” the statement continued. “These are not mutually exclusive.”

In response to that, White House press secretary McEnany countered that “Blue Lives Matter” is an equity issue, and that Goodyear “needs to come out and acknowledge that.”

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