Trump demands Goodyear boycott after reported ban on political attire

WASHINGTON — U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday called for a boycott of tire manufacturer Goodyear following a local news report in Kansas that the company has deemed political attire including that of the Trump campaign unacceptable for the workplace.

“Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS,” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to his slogan “Make America Great Again.”

Trump’s tweet followed a news report by WIBW, a local CBS affiliate television station, about a Goodyear training session from the company’s Ohio corporate headquarters about political attire presented at a Goodyear plant in Topeka, Kansas. Shares in Goodyear, the largest tire company in North America, fell 4% following Trump’s Twitter post.

The WIBW report cited a photograph that it said was of a slide from a Goodyear employee from a presentation listing acceptable and unacceptable workplace attire. Goodyear has since released a statement distancing itself from the image that was central to the report. 

“The visual in question was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it part of a diversity training class,” Goodyear said in a statement Wednesday.

Goodyear said it welcomed speech on equality issues but not politics as part of its effort to foster “an inclusive and respectful workplace.”

“We do allow our associates to express their support on racial injustice and other equity issues but ask that they refrain from workplace expressions, verbal or otherwise, in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party as well as other similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of equity issues,” Goodyear spokeswoman Melissa Monaco told WIBW.

The company is the largest provider of tires to new vehicles in the United States. Goodyear brand tires were on 24% of new vehicles in the United States in 2018, according to Tire Business, an industry publication. The White House declined to comment on whether Trump, who is seeking re-election on Nov. 3, was calling for Americans to stop buying new vehicles with Goodyear tires.

Reuters has not verified the accuracy of the WIBW story. 

Later on Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said at a press conference that “Goodyear needs to come out to clarify their policy.”

(Reporting by David Shepardson and Jan Wolfe; writing by Susan Heavey; Editing by Tim Ahmann and Will Dunham)

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