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Ohio Democrats Slam Trump's Goodyear Boycott As 'Reprehensible'

Goodyear blimp
Wikimedia Commons

President Donald Trump is calling for people to boycott Goodyear tires, an Akron-based company that employs more than 62,000 people nationwide. The move spurred Ohio Democrats to fire back during the third day of the Democratic National Convention.

In a tweet Wednesday morning, Trump said "Don't buy GOODYEAR TIRES." The social media post came in response to a report from a local news affiliate that Goodyear's employee policy does not allow workers to wear political attire, based on an picture allegedly taken during an employee training session.

The image showed items that were banned and not banned. "Make America Great Again" items were listed in the barred category along with any other political attire. Trump claimed that Goodyear had a "BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less!"

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called Trump's comments incredulous.

"That he should call for a boycott of an American company that's not broken any laws, that apparently has offended the president's sensibilities. They can't wear Donald Trump 'MAGA' hats but they can't wear Joe Biden t-shirts, apparently, either," Brown said. "It's despicable when the president of the United States thinks it's appropriate to call for a boycott of a U.S. company where there are thousands and thousands of workers."

Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron), state Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) and state Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) released a written statement that said calling for the boycott of a company that has 3,000 Ohio workers is "reprehensible" under normal circumstances.

"But especially during a pandemic where tens of thousands of Ohioans are unemployed and businesses all over the state are forced to close because President Trump refuses to lead during this national crisis," the statement reads. "President Trump promised to bring manufacturing jobs back to the Buckeye State, but instead he is putting them in jeopardy. We are proud to have Goodyear headquartered in Akron and we are proud to represent the 'Rubber City.'"

On Twitter, the city of Akron also responded, criticizing the president for "coming to destroy the American economy and heartland jobs."

The Ohio Republican Party did not respond to a request for comment. Trump's Ohio campaign spokesperson did not comment and referred to the White House for further comment.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) was asked to comment on Trump's call for a boycott, but did not respond. Instead, he released a statement about Goodyear's employee policies.

"I believe private companies are free to set their own guidelines, but I would hope they would do it fairly and objectively, with respect for free speech," Portman said.

A spokesperson for Gov. Mike DeWine said on Wednesday that the governor "has no immediate comment." At his press conference the next day, DeWine answered questions about the boycott by saying he does not support Trump's call.

"Look, we should not boycott this good Ohio company with good Ohio workers doing a good job, making a good Ohio product," DeWine said.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted (R-Ohio) sent a tweet Wednesday evening defending Goodyear.

"Goodyear is a great Ohio company that employs a lot of Ohioans," Husted tweeted. "Please buy their products, it’s good for Ohio. And while you’re at it buy a set of tires from Cooper Tire which is another great Ohio company."

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden also issued a statement, saying, "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. President Trump doesn’t have a clue about the dignity and worth that comes with good-paying union jobs at places like Goodyear, jobs that can support a family and sustain a community."

Democrats are planning a rally in support of Goodyear and its employees on Thursday.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.