AKRON, Ohio — President Donald Trump shook things up in Northeast Ohio on Wednesday by calling for a boycott of Goodyear tires after the company reportedly told employees they couldn't wear "Make America Great Again" or "Blue Lives Matter" attire.
"Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES - They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS," Trump tweeted Wednesday.
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It didn't take long for leaders in Akron and across the state to respond to the president.
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan issued a two-part statement on Twitter, starting with a reply to President Trump: "First, you came to destroy American decency. Next, you came to destroy American institutions. Now you're coming to destroy the American economy and heartland jobs. Luckily you seem to fail at everything you do."
The response included an gif of Akron-native LeBron James.
Horrigan followed with a statement of support for Goodyear. "Goodyear has believed in this community for generations, investing in the power, tenacity, and honest people of the heartland, which is more than we can say for this president. #WeStandWithGoodyear"
Also criticizing the president's tweet was U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). "It’s absolutely despicable that the President would call for a boycott of an American company, based in Akron, that employs thousands of U.S. workers," Brown wrote. Keep in mind, this is a President who spent years making his own Trump-branded products overseas. He failed to stand up for workers in Lordstown, and now he betrays the workers in Akron."
Brown's U.S. Senate counterpart from Ohio, Sen. Rob Portman, gave the following statement on the matter to 3News:
“I believe private companies are free to set their own guidelines, but I would hope they would do it fairly and objectively, with respect for free speech.”
Rep. Emilia Sykes, Ohio House Minority Leader from Akron, also weighed in. "Akron is known as the rubber city capital of the world, spurred by the innovation & work of Goodyear along with the hardworking men and women who made it possible. We are very protective of our people and what made Akron the city it is today. Stand down."
Lt. Gov. Jon Husted also weighed in with his thoughts. "@Goodyear is a great Ohio company that employs a lot of Ohioans. Please buy their products, it’s good for Ohio. And while you’re at it buy a set of tires from @Coopertire which is another great Ohio company."
Trump's call to boycott comes after a Goodyear employee told a TV station that the company's zero-tolerance policy was "discriminatory." The worker claimed the photo was taken during a "diversity training," but Goodyear said Wednesday that wasn't true.
"Goodyear became the focus of a conversation that created some misconceptions about our policies and our company," Goodyear said in a statement shared on Twitter. The company added that its corporate office did not release the zero-tolerance slide and it was not part of a "diversity training class."
Goodyear added that it has zero tolerance for any forms of harassment or discrimination, so it's been a longstanding corporate policy to ask employees to "refrain from workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party, as well as similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues."
The company said it appreciates the "diverse viewpoints" of all its more than 60,000 employees and has "always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement."
Goodyear also said it's not "anti-police."
"Nothing could be further from the truth, and we have the upmost appreciation for the vital work police do on behalf of our shared communities. This can't be said strongly enough," Goodyear's statement said.
One interesting note about the Goodyear v. Trump controversy is the president's limousine, nicknamed 'The Beast,' rides on tires made by Goodyear.
Will that continue? White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said "we don't comment on security matters" when asked during a Wednesday press conference.