Corporate America seeks to penalize Trump, Republicans – for now

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New York (AFP)

In his final days in office, the biggest names in American business are ditching President Donald Trump over accusations he instigated last week’s deadly mob attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Twitter kicked the president out of the platform he relied on to promote himself, Shopify shut down ecommerce pages selling their items, and the Stripe payments platform says it will no longer process transactions for the campaign. Trump.

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

But there is no guarantee that this sudden cooling of Corporate America’s relationship with Washington will last, especially with Joe Biden seeking to overturn many of Trump’s business-friendly 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 expel Trump, who is accused of prompting crowds to storm the chambers where lawmakers certified Biden’s victory on November 3.

Major industry groups and unions have spoken out in condemning Trump even as the crash was underway.

The National Manufacturers Association, which previously backed Trump’s agenda, called on Vice President Mike Pence to “seriously consider” discussing the 25th Amendment to the Constitution that would allow him to temporarily become President after Trump is deemed unfit.

Social media companies, alarmed by the use of their platforms by Trump and his supporters to promote and organize the attack, then took action, with Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat banning the president and Amazon’s web division from force the conservative social network Talk offline.

However, when it comes to political donations, which are often channeled through Political Action Committees (PACs), companies are more cautious.

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

This failed effort by Trump’s allies was underway when protesters, many of whom believed the election was rigged, stormed the Capitol.

But JPMorgan Chase has said he is halting donations to candidates from both parties, as are Facebook, Microsoft and Google – meaning Democrats who are expected to tightly control both houses of Congress won’t necessarily see a benefit from the hiatus.

“The suspension of political contributions to lawmakers who voted against Joe Biden’s certification last week is justified,” said Daniel G. Newman, president of MapLight, which tracks the influence of money on US 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 just days before the attack on Capitol Hill.

– Temporary break? –

Several companies have made it clear that they are only coming out of the world of political finance.

Google has said its contributions have been frozen, “while we review and reassess its policies following the deeply troubling events of the past week,” and Microsoft noted that it “regularly suspends donations in the first quarter of a year. new Congress ”.

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

It seems inevitable that big business will re-enter congressional lobbies, especially with promising reforms from Biden such as higher business taxes and a $ 15 federal minimum wage that could hurt results.

The 2022 legislative election is also looming on the horizon that could hand the House and Senate back to Republicans, whose policies are often seen as more business-friendly.

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