Many of the major companies that helped fund the 2012 GOP National Convention have declined to sponsor the 2016 event in Cleveland this year.
Bloomberg confirmed yesterday that Wells Fargo & Co., United Parcel Service Inc., Motorola Solutions Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Ford Motor Co., and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. will all be pulling their funds for next month’s gathering at Quicken Loans Arena.
None of the companies listed above have publicly stated whether or not their decision has to do with Donald Trump’s presumptive status as the party’s presidential nominee. Many have declined to help fund the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia as well, perhaps in an attempt to not make their decisions seem too partisan. Corporations often sponsor party conventions simply to promote their brands rather than make explicit partisan endorsements.
The enormous controversy emerging over Trump’s likely nomination in July does, however, provide a clear risk for many companies, who fear that their association with Trump will be potentially harmful to their brand. A growing amount of pressure has been applied by a variety of activists, who insist that funding the event implies complicity between the brand and Trump’s many racist statements against Latinos and Muslims throughout his campaign.
Bruce Haynes, a Republican media consultant based in Alexandria, Virginia had this to say on the matter:
It’s a question of balancing the desire to be present at this convention versus brand association with one figure who is so polarizing.That’s why the decision is so difficult, when otherwise it’s so easy.
Despite this growing pressure, there are still many companies who remain committed to sponsoring the convention next month. Chief among them is The American Petroleum Institute, a major trade group for the fossil fuel industry.
Bloomberg listed Apple Inc., Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Xerox Corp., and Adobe Systems Inc. as among the biggest names who have yet to comment on their future plans for sponsoring the convention this year as they did in 2012. They are currently being targeted by liberal activists attempting to pressure them out of sponsoring the event. One of these groups is the ColorOfChange PAC. Rashad Robinson, speaking on behalf of the PAC, stated:
If any of their employees walked inside their jobs and said the things Donald Trump is saying on the campaign trail, in front of countless cameras and journalists, they would be fired. Corporations play a powerful role in sending a message to everyday people about what’s acceptable in the public space. This is not a business-as-usual convention.
Many Republican officials and organizers feel confident, however, that the party will remain fully prepared for the Cleveland convention, with fundraising ultimately not being an issue. Emily Lauer, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland host committee, reassured party members that “the sky is not falling.”
Another party official and national committeeman, James Dicke, was also very confident that fundraising would not be a problem. He told Bloomberg:
Fundraising has slowed down, but we will get there and, so far, we’ve raised considerably more money than any other convention has ever raised.
Featured image via Getty.