Trump’s endorsement is one the company from Maine would probably like to avoid
President-elect Donald Trump is right where he wants to be: at the center of our thoughts. In this edition of “What Did He Just Do?” we find ourselves taken aback by a tweet thanking L.L. Bean for a donation board member Linda Bean made to a PAC that aided Donald Trump during his campaign. Since the tweet, the company faces boycotts from the Grab Your Wallet group, which advocates cutting off companies that are involved with Mr. Trump or organizations that support him. Here’s the tweet that set this brouhaha in motion.
Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean. @LBPerfectMaine— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump) 1484229013.0
Business Insider reports that Linda Bean, granddaughter of Leon Leonwood Bean, was thought to have donated approximately $60,000 to the PAC called Make America Great Again LLC. In thanking his benefactor, Mr. Trump set off a storm of controversy around the Maine-based brand, which has actively sought to remain outside of politics since its inception.
His tweet also has people wondering where Mr. Trump will draw the line, since encouraging people to “Buy L.L. Bean” effectively acts as an advertisement for the company. The Office of Government Ethics has strict rules against government officials acting as brand ambassadors. However, the rule does not specifically restrict the president or president-elect, according to The New York Times.
The tweet also brought the political action committee that Ms. Bean donated to under scrutiny. The AP revealed that the PAC was not registered to accept donations over $5,000, according to the Federal Election Committee. The PAC has opened its books to reveal that Linda Bean actually donated $30,000 to the campaign. Further prodding by the FEC resulted in the PAC claiming they would seek to gain super PAC status in order to be able to raise an unlimited amount of cash in the future.
Linda Bean argues that the boycott of L.L. Bean is unfair and “bullying” to her personally. She told Fox, "They want to control how we spend our money, what we buy, where we buy it. That's un-American." L.L. Bean CEO Shawn Gorman has also spoken out about the boycott of the company by Grab Your Wallet, which he calls “misguided.”
"No individual alone speaks on behalf of the business or represents the values of the company that L.L. built. L.L. Bean does not endorse political candidates, take positions on political matters, or make political contributions. Simply put, 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."
With all the attention, L.L Bean is trying to deflect a lot of the ill will brought on by Trump’s endorsement. But you can add them to the list of companies that Trump’s Twitter pulpit has personally affected since becoming president-elect.