Trump urges Goodyear tire boycott over ban on political garb

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 20 2020 09:29 AM

President Donald Trump addresses a news conference at the White House in Washington, Aug. 19, 2020. Doug Mills, The New York Times 

WASHINGTON -- US President Donald Trump on Wednesday urged consumers to avoid buying Goodyear tires and even threatened to swap out those on his armored limousine after a report that the company had banned attire featuring his political slogan.

Kansas-based broadcaster WIBW on Tuesday posted an image allegedly showing a Goodyear diversity training slideshow that says clothing associated with a variety of conservative causes -- including the president's "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) slogan -- is not allowed.

"Don't buy GOODYEAR TIRES - They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less!" Trump tweeted as news of the image, obtained from an unnamed employee, spread.

Hours later he expanded on the criticism. "I'm not happy with Goodyear. They are playing politics," the president told reporters at the White House. 

"I would be very much in favor of people who don't want to buy there."

Trump also said he may yet order the removal of the Goodyear tires on his own presidential ride, the black Cadillac limousine nicknamed "The Beast," over the slight.

"Yeah, I would swap them out, based on what I heard. We will see what happens," he said.

The slide listed "political affiliated slogans or material" as "Unacceptable," along with "Blue Lives Matter" or "All Lives Matter" -- slogans used to support law enforcement amid widespread protests against police killings of African Americans.

Under a column labeled "Acceptable" were "Black Lives Matter," the movement fueling the protests which Trump has criticized ahead of his re-election battle in November, as well as "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Pride."

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co, a mainstay of the US auto industry, said the slide "was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it part of a diversity training class".

"We ask associates not to engage in political campaigning of any kind in the workplace -- for any candidate, party or political organization," the Ohio-based company said.

It also affirmed support for both "equality and law enforcement," adding: "These are not mutually exclusive."

The spat made political waves as Joe Biden, the Democrat challenging Trump in the election, weighed in to attack the president's "petty political grievances" and say Trump cares little about the thousands of Goodyear workers. 

"To President Trump, those workers and their jobs aren't a source of pride, just collateral damage in yet another one of his political attacks," Biden said in a statement.

© Agence France-Presse