After it was revealed that a titular member of the family that created L.L. Bean had made a series of illegal donations to Donald Trump’s political campaign, Trump thought he could turn the scandal on its head and help the retailer by tweeting a message of support. To use his own word, wrong. Instead Trump has turned what had been a minor political scandal into a major one, and in the process he’s triggered a wide scale boycott against L.L. Bean.
The trouble began when Linda Bean was discovered to have made illegal donations to a pro Trump Super PAC. She did so in her own name, and not on behalf of the corporation her family founded, and these types of violations are typically solved by simply refunding the donations. But instead Donald Trump couldn’t help himself and turned into a thing.
Trump tweeted earlier today, “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.” But the specter of a ‘president-elect’ trying to steer business to one American company over its competitors, based on donations made to his campaign, has backfired in explosive fashion. Immediately, Twitter users began countering his “Buy L.L. Bean” plea with “Bye, L.L. Bean” and worse.
Since that time “LL Bean” has become one of the top two or three trending topics on Twitter throughout the course of the day. And if you look at the discussion taking place under that topic, you’ll see the sheer number of Americans vowing to boycott the company. That boycott is likely to harm L.L. Bean and boost its competitors such as Amazon, whose CEO once said he wanted to launch Trump into space and leave him there.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report