Corporate America, normally a bastion of self-restraint on national political issues, has stepped forth forcefully to make clear it will have no part in helping advance Donald Trump’s democracy-destroying agenda. Businesses that have a serious financial stake in avoiding mass boycotts from Trump supporters are nonetheless putting a defense of the Constitution and the survival of American democratic values ahead of their pursuit of profits. If only the Republican Party demonstrated such courage and character.
The 14,000-member National Association of Manufacturers led the way last week with a lengthy statement by its president and chief executive, Jay Timmons, labeling Trump an “arsonist” who should be removed under the 25th Amendment. “Throughout this whole disgusting episode, Trump has been cheered on by members of his own party, adding fuel to the distrust that has enflamed violent anger,” Timmons wrote. “This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule.”
For the past four years, the manufacturing and retail industry has danced daintily around the entire thorny subject of Trump’s presidency — the lies, the inflammatory and racist rhetoric, and the division he has sown. They’ve known that a single tweet from the president could prompt a nationwide boycott of their businesses. But now major business leaders are recognizing the far greater threat Trump poses if his insurrectionist leadership is allowed to continue.
Social media giants Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest imposed a near total freeze-out of Trump to prevent him from rallying support online. In the blink of an eye, Trump’s 88.8 million Twitter followers found themselves cast adrift, no longer able to access the president’s minute-by-minute, lie-filled and often incoherent ruminations. Trump threatened to switch to Parler, a right-wing sounding board. But Apple, Amazon and Google quickly countered by cutting off Parler’s hosting services until it rooted out insurrectionist postings. The message was clear and blunt: either start policing these sites for extremist rhetoric or risk being completely shut down.
Another key actor stepped forward last weekend: Stripe, a company that processes millions of payments on e-commerce platforms, reportedly will no longer handle payments for Trump’s campaign website. The move should put a serious crimp in Trump’s ability to collect funds to keep his political ambitions alive. American Express and JPMorgan Chase announced they are withholding donations to candidates who support rhetoric that interferes with the peaceful transition of power. Citigroup is canceling all federal political donations for the next three months. Coca-Cola, Marriott, Morgan Stanley, AT&T and the PGA Championship also are pulling away from Trump and his party.
None of these actions comes without serious potential risk of financial loss and shareholder blowback. But they did it because they’re prioritizing the Constitution and national security over all else. Those are profiles in courage that, so far, have eluded Republicans and so-called patriots in Congress and the Missouri statehouse.