President Donald Trump is calling for people to boycott Goodyear tires, an Akron-based company that employs more than 62,000 people. 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 was in response to a report from a local news affiliate that Goodyear's employee policy does not allow workers to wear political attire.
The report was 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's tweet said Goodyear has a "Ban on MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less!"
U.S. Senator 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), Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron) and Rep. Casey Weinstein (D-Hudson) released a written statement which said calling for a 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. 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.'"
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.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) was asked to comment on Trump's call for a boycott but did not respond to that issue, 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," said Portman
Other Republican leaders in Ohio also avoided responding to Trump's call for a boycott, including Gov. Mike DeWine whose spokesperson said the governor "has no immediate comment."
However, 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. 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," Husted said.
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.