In an interview with The Daily Caller that was published on Friday evening, President Donald Trump expressed his desire to make advertiser boycotts illegal. According to Trump, one of his friends purchased “a couple of conservative sites” and claimed that advertisers on the site are being harassed. The president said that this alleged harassment scares advertisers away from promoting on such platforms.
“The advertisers are harassed, to a point where they don’t want to do it,” Trump said.
“They’re either afraid or it’s not worth it.”
Trump expressed empathy with the companies who are targeted by boycotts because he claims he has been the target of such strategies by the Washington Post, which has allegedly taken aim at people who use his businesses.
“People are going to have a wedding. They get calls from the Washington Post — you can report it if you want — ‘Why are you going there? Why are you doing a wedding with Trump?’ and these are reporters in the Washington Post.”
“It should be illegal,” he added. “That has to be illegal in some form.”
Trump also expressed dismay at the fact that conservatives don’t use the same boycotting tactics against liberal websites.
“How can you possibly allow this to happen?” he said. “This is really a takeover of the whole system,” he added.
Trump’s comments come amid the civil unrest that was sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of police officer Derek Chauvin, who is accused of killing him during apprehension. As reported by USA Today, the protests have made way for a wave of boycotts, with many people planning to stop purchasing products from companies that don’t support the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Other groups are also encouraging people to buy products from Black-owned businesses. But disturbingly, economist Robert Reich claims that many large companies that have been expressing support for BLM are covertly playing a significant role in pushing racist policies and initiatives under cover of social unrest.
Amna Kirmani, professor of marketing at the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, claims that social media has made boycotts much easier due to the level of organization they enable. Yet even before the rise of social media, civil rights protests have sparked boycotts many times in the past. Notably, USA Today pointed to the Montgomery bus boycott in 1956, which began after Rosa Parks, an African American, refused to give up her seat to a white passenger on the bus. Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1956 that Montgomery’s bus segregation laws ran contrary to the constitution.