Donald Trump Jnr: Hey, maybe it’s time to lay off Bud Lite

The imbroglio around Bud Lite in the United States, stemming from their decision to have the brand endorsed by trans activist Dylan Mulvaney, has been fascinating to watch. Fascinating mainly because it involves something unusually rare in the culture wars: A large corporation genuinely on the run because of a backlash that started on the right.

After a week of falling sales and crumbling stock prices, for example, the CEO of Bud Lite’s parent company, Anheuser Busch, felt compelled to issue the following statement over the weekend:

The stock price chart tends, sometimes, to be over-interpreted, but the fall in the price has been sharp (though by no means catastrophic) and aligns perfectly with the scandal:

And so, it’s interesting that with a major corporation on the run, effectively, on the grounds of having been too woke, of all things, to see who is riding to their rescue, and on what grounds:

Donald Trump Jr. defended beer conglomerate Anheuser-Busch on his podcast Thursday, urging listeners not to continue boycotting the company.

Trump claimed that the company was too “iconic” to continue boycotting, and that the executives have learned a lesson.

“So here’s the deal. Anheuser-Busch totally sh*t the bed with this Dylan Mulvaney thing. I’m not, though, for destroying an American, an iconic company for something like this,” Trump Jr. said.

“When I actually look into it, I’m not gonna blame the whole company for the inaction or the stupidity of someone in a marketing campaign that got woke as hell,” Trump said of the collaboration on Thursday.

Trump cited Anheuser-Busch’s record of donating slightly more to conservative politicians than liberal ones as reason to keep buying their beer.

Well, if nothing else, it’s a helpful reason for companies to throw some donations – sorry, protection money – in the direction of the Trump dynasty.

I wrote last week on this topic about how “protection money” is a large motive for corporations going down the “woke” road: Once upon a time, big corporations were the enemies of the left. If they can position themselves, at the cost of very little cash, as allies of the left on cultural issues, then they might rightfully presume that they’ll be spared a little bit of “tax the rich” demagoguery at election time. But what if it works both ways?

Perhaps, reading Trump Jnrs comments above, corporations might realise that in the United States, at least, you can play both sides: Commit the occasional outrage against traditional views of the world in order to thrill the left, and toss a few hundred grand to the Trump Political Action Committee to get a member of the family out on telly, if things get too hot, to call you “very fine people”.

Regular readers will know, of course, of this column’s broad antipathy to Donald Trump as a standard bearer for conservative and nationalist politics. One of the reasons for that is the former President’s long-standing and observable pattern of terrible judgment when it comes to who to align himself with. If you want to get on Trump’s side, either give him money, or say nice things about him. Just last week, for example, he showered praise on the extremely left wing Governor of California because, in Trump’s actual words, “he never attacked Trump”. He has previously praised figures as diverse as Kim Jong Un of North Korea and Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel on the overt grounds that those people said something nice about him. If he perceives that people or corporations might even be slightly friendly to him, that’s good enough – and the issue of course is that there are plenty of people smart enough to say nice things about Trump to his face and laugh about him behind his back. Or, in the case of Bud Lite, toss him a few thousand in a donation, and mock his supporters in adverts.

In this case, it seems to me, the American Right had a major corporation on the run, and an opportunity to really turn a page in its favour in the endless culture war. That opportunity is being squandered (because of course, many people will take Trump Jrs word as gospel) because the Trump family would rather think of the bottom line, rather than the cause they purport to lead.

The contrast with Ron DeSantis’s handling of Disney, down in Florida, is compelling.


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