Corporate America seeks to penalize Trump and Republicans – for now

In his final days in office, the biggest names in American business are dumping President Donald Trump on charges he instigated last week’s deadly mob attack on the US Capitol.

Twitter kicked the president out of the platform he relied on to promote himself, Shopify shut down e-commerce pages selling his items, and payments platform Stripe said it would no longer process transactions from Trump’s campaign.

Others turned their attention to the acrimonious bipartisan politics of the United States, with Microsoft, Facebook and Google all announcing pauses in donations to Republican and Democratic candidates.

But there is no guarantee that this sudden chill in relations between Corporate America and Washington will last, especially with Joe Biden seeking to undo many of Trump’s pro-business policies when he takes office next week.

“It’s a real moment of truth. Do they change their behavior? Or do they come back after a while?” Bruce F. Freed, president of the Center for Political Accountability, told AFP.

– Both sides hanging –

The attack on Congress last week shook the heart of American democracy and drew international condemnation. It also sparked a new effort to eliminate Trump, who is accused of inciting mobs to storm the chambers where lawmakers were certifying Biden’s victory on Nov. 3.

Major industry groups and unions came out to condemn Trump even as the fight was underway.

The National Manufacturers Association, which previously backed Trump’s agenda, called on Vice President Mike Pence to ‘seriously consider’ bringing up the 25th Amendment to the constitution that would allow him to temporarily become president after Trump stands trial. unable.

Social media companies, alarmed by the use of their platforms by Trump and his supporters to promote and stage the attack, acted next, with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat banning the president and Amazon’s web division forcing the conservative social network Talking to disconnect.

However, when it comes to political donations, which are often channeled through political action committees (PACs), companies have been more circumspect.

Hotel giant Marriott, Blue Cross health insurer Blue Shield and financial services company American Express said they would stop making donations to Republican lawmakers trying to prevent certification of Biden’s election victory.

This futile effort by Trump allies continued as protesters, many of whom believed the election was rigged, stormed the Capitol.

But JPMorgan Chase has said it is stopping donations to bipartisan candidates, as have Facebook, Microsoft and Google – meaning Democrats who are poised to tightly control both houses of Congress won’t necessarily see a benefit. of the break.

“Suspending political contributions to lawmakers who voted against Joe Biden’s certification last week is warranted,” said Daniel G. Newman, president of MapLight, which tracks the influence of money on American politics.

However, he said more needed to be done to reduce corporate influence, pointing to a bill to do so introduced by Democrats controlling the House of Representatives days before the Capitol attack.

– Temporary break? –

Several companies have made it clear that they are only taking a time out in the world of political finance.

Google said its contributions were frozen, “while we review and reevaluate its policies in the wake of the deeply disturbing events of the past week,” and Microsoft noted that it “regularly halts donations during the first quarter of a new Congress.

Facebook said in a statement that its pause would apply “at least” only to the first quarter, but only to PAC contributions, not overall political spending.

It seems inevitable that big business will re-enter congressional lobbies again, especially with Biden promising reforms like higher corporate taxes and a $15 federal minimum wage that could hurt bottom lines.

Also looming are the 2022 legislative elections that could put the House and Senate back in the hands of Republicans, whose policies are often seen as more pro-business.

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