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Tracking the business backlash as Trump brand turns toxic

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The corporate and institutional backlash against Trump after last week’s violent siege of the US Capitol was swift and continues to grow as his brand proves toxic for business.

From social media bans to cancelled golf tournaments, the corporate backlash continues after supporters of United States President Donald Trump stormed the US Capitol building last week.

The violent siege left at least five people dead and caused extensive damage. Now, Trump is facing a renewed impeachment drive and possible removal from office.

It’s a major blow for a reality TV star turned US president who has fashioned his outsized persona by boasting of his business acumen and ties to business leaders.

But the Trump brand has grown toxic for businesses as people demand companies take a stand against the man and the assault on the democracy made in his name.

Here is a list of firms and institutions cutting ties with Trump and even his followers.

Big Tech

Twitter has permanently suspended Trump’s account “due to the risk of further incitement of violence”, the company said in a statement on Friday.

Several world leaders and US politicians welcomed the move, but others – including critics of Trump – blasted the action as politically motivated and an infringement on free speech.

Facebook, which owns photo-sharing app Instagram, announced it was blocking Trump’s account “indefinitely” on Thursday – the day after Trump supporters breached the US Capitol building in a violent, unruly mob.

“We believe the risks of allowing President Trump to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great, so we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in his post that explained the decision.

Some of Trump’s most avid followers are also caught in the Big Tech backlash after Apple and Google banned the Parler app from their stores for failing to police violent and threatening content on its platform.  An alternative social network that is popular with Trump supporters, Parler also fell in the crosshairs of Amazon.com, which pulled the plug on web hosting services for the platform.

On Monday, Parler sued Amazon.com, calling its decision to terminate hosting services “politically motivated”.

 

Twitter has permanently suspended Trump’s account [File: Joshua Roberts/Illustration/Reuters]   

Sports

Trump has made no secret of his love for golf, but the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA) announced on Monday that it was pulling its 2022 championship from the golf course the president and his family own in Bedminster, New Jersey.

“It’s become clear that conducting the PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand; it would put at risk the PGA’s ability to deliver our many programmes and sustain the longevity of our mission,” PGA of America President Jim Richerson said in a video statement.

“Our board has thus made the decision to exercise the right to terminate the contract to hold the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster,” he added.

US President Donald Trump, an avid golfer who owns multiple courses, had the PGA cancel the 2022 championship it planned to hold at his New Jersey property [File: Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

Colleges and universities

Two higher education institutions — Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and Wagner College in New York — announced they would be rescinding honorary degrees they had previously conferred on Trump.

Wagner College’s board of trustees held a special session to revoke Trump’s degree on Friday, it announced in a statement.

Lehigh leadership announced they had done the same — revoking the honorary degree Trump has held since 1988.

Hospitality

Hotel chain Marriott International Inc said it would suspend political donations to Republican lawmakers who voted against certifying Biden’s electoral victory, Bloomberg News reported.

“We have taken the destructive events at the Capitol to undermine a legitimate and fair election into consideration and will be pausing political giving from our political action committee to those who voted against certification of the election,” a Marriott spokesperson said.

Big banks

Three major banks are all reconsidering their political donation policies in the wake of the violence at the Capitol, Bloomberg News reported, with JPMorgan Chase & Co planning a six-month suspension of donations to both Republicans and Democrats.

Citigroup Inc has suspended all political donations for the quarter, Bloomberg reported, and Goldman Sachs Group Inc is likely to implement a policy that blocks donations to the lawmakers who opposed certifying Biden’s win.

“We want you to be assured that we will not support candidates who do not respect the rule of law,” Candi Wolff, Citi’s head of global government affairs, said in a memo to employees viewed by Bloomberg.

Morgan Stanley suspended donations to the political action committees of candidates who voted against certifying the results but did not bar donations across the board, The New York Times reported.

Deutsche Bank – Trump’s main lender – has decided to stop doing business with Trump and his company, The New York Times reported on Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Healthcare

Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, whose 36 member companies provide health insurance for one in three Americans, announced it is suspending donations to lawmakers who objected to certifying Biden’s victory.

“In light of this week’s violent, shocking assault on the United States Capitol, and the votes of some members of Congress to subvert the results of November’s election by challenging Electoral College results, BCSBA will suspend contributions to those lawmakers who voted to undermine our democracy,” the association’s president and CEO Kim Keck said in a statement.

Shopping and payment platforms

Canada-based online retail platform Shopify Inc took down two stores affiliated with Trump on Thursday, including TrumpStore.com and Shop.DonaldJTrump.com.

Both sold some of the president’s signature products – like his “Make America Great Again” hats, which were ubiquitous during the Capitol riot.

Online payment firm Stripe also announced it would no longer be processing payments for Trump’s campaign website, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

SOURCE : AL JAZEERA

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