Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Companies Bail out on GOP Convention after Facing Pressure

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Companies Bail out on GOP Convention after Facing Pressure

Article excerpt

SAN FRANCISCO * Donald Trump has promised to liven up this year's Republican National Convention. But some of America's biggest corporations are bailing on the party.

Apple recently became the latest company to give the GOP's presumptive nominee the cold shoulder; it won't contribute money or products to the Republicans' big shindig in Cleveland this month. HP Inc. is also withholding support, while Microsoft is giving products only, not cash. Beyond the tech industry, Ford, JPMorgan Chase and United Parcel Service have opted to withhold support.

COMPANIES ARE WARY

The reasons aren't completely clear.

In many cases, however, their decisions became known after civil rights groups launched a public effort including billboards, letters and online messages aimed at persuading companies to withhold support for an event celebrating a candidate who has campaigned with incendiary proposals, racial rhetoric and harsh comments about immigrants and women.

"Of course it's because of Trump," said Larry Sabato, a University of Virginia political scientist who has studied party conventions for more than 30 years. Business executives, he said, don't want to alienate customers who may be offended by Trump's statements. "Just as candidates don't get votes from people they insult," he said, "corporations don't get business from people they insult."

APPLE AND THE GOP

Apple made headlines after Politico reported the tech giant wouldn't support the GOP convention because of Trump's divisive statements. Apple declined to comment on its plans for either convention this year, although Lauer confirmed that the company isn't a sponsor for the GOP gathering. A spokeswoman for Democratic organizers declined to comment.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly supported diversity and fair treatment of immigrants. Trump, meanwhile, has publicly blasted the company for manufacturing its products abroad and for resisting FBI demands to help unlock an encrypted iPhone used by an extremist killer in San Bernardino, Calif.

DOWN IN THE VALLEY

Another well-known tech company, Hewlett-Packard, gave a total of $1 million in cash and tech gear for the two previous GOP conventions. …

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