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A general view of the Goodyear tire and service center. (AP) A general view of the Goodyear tire and service center. (AP)

A general view of the Goodyear tire and service center. (AP)

Noah Y. Kim
By Noah Y. Kim August 26, 2020

If Your Time is short

• In a tweet, Trump called for a boycott of Goodyear over a company policy that he mischaracterized. He reaffirmed his support for a boycott in a press conference later the same day. 

• Goodyear stock prices dipped in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s tweet but rebounded to their previous levels in the next few days. 

• We found no evidence that Trump’s call for a boycott endangered jobs at the company, but Goodyear union leaders said that they are worried about the possibility.

In its first post-convention ad, the Biden campaign went on the attack, criticizing President Trump for calling for a boycott on the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company. 

The campaign released the 30-second ad in two states with large numbers of Goodyear employees: Ohio, where the company’s global headquarters are located, and North Carolina, home to a large Goodyear tire plant. 

The ad claims that Trump’s actions threatened American jobs. Here’s the key narration: 

"An American company with a 122-year history, thousands of American workers, and competitors all over the world, and a sitting president, who’s spinning out of control, would risk American jobs to try to save his own."

Did Trump call for a boycott on Goodyear?

Yes, he did.

On Aug. 19, President Trump tweeted "Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES - They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less! (This is what the Radical Left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now!)."

We previously fact-checked Trump’s tweet and found it Mostly False. The tweet makes it sound as though Goodyear announced a ban only on hats that display Trump campaign messaging. In a press release, the company clarified that it requires employees to refrain from any political expression that falls "outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues." Under the current policy, Goodyear employees can’t wear "Biden 2020" hats, either. (They can wear Black Lives Matter gear.)

The ad features footage from a press briefing Trump held the same day he tweeted about the company. "I would be very much in favor if people don’t want to buy there," Trump says in the clip. 

Trump made this statement in response to a question about what type of boycott on Goodyear he envisioned. He did not specify the form that he wanted the boycott to take, saying that it was "up to people." However, he did reaffirm his support for those who refused to buy from the company. 

How did Trump’s tweet affect the company?

The Biden campaign ad implies that Trump’s tweets about Goodyear have endangered the company. As evidence, it cites a Business Insider article, which says that Goodyear stock prices dipped 6% after Trump’s tweet. 

On Aug. 19, Goodyear’s stock prices did dip, plunging 4% in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s tweet and reaching a daytime low of -5.6%. However, its stock price rebounded somewhat in the next few hours, and the company closed the day at a loss of 2.0%. 

It’s difficult to draw a firm connection between Trump’s actions and the losses the company sustained that day. The company’s stock had been dropping at a comparable rate even before Trump called for a boycott. On August 18, the day before the tweet, Goodyear’s stocks fell 2.7 percent. 

So far, the President’s statements haven’t had any noticeable, long-lasting effect on Goodyear stock prices. Six days later, Goodyear stock prices had returned to the levels they were at before the tweet. 

Did Trump’s tweet endanger American jobs?

We found no evidence Trump’s call for a boycott risked American jobs, as the ad claims, at least so far. However, a union leader representing Goodyear workers told us that the company’s employees were worried that a boycott could lead to layoffs if it grows more serious. 

"If [the boycott] escalates, I think it’ll cause serious damage to workers, particularly in Ohio," Bill Conner, director of Subdistrict 2 at United Steelworkers, told PolitiFact. 

Conner said that even the Trump supporters in the union felt disturbed and betrayed by his tweet. "It was a sad day in the history of our country, that the president of the United States would call for a boycott on an American company," he said. 

During the Aug. 19 press briefing, Trump said that Goodyear workers who left the company could get "another good jobs (sic)". It’s unclear whether Trump was referencing employees who left the company in protest over its dress code or employees laid off in the event of a boycott. 

So how factual is the ad? 

The Biden campaign ad slightly overstates the effect that Trump’s call for a boycott has had on Goodyear stock prices. But in all other respects, the ad is accurate. As president, Trump did call for a boycott on an American company that employs thousands of workers. ​

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Our Sources

Biden campaign, ad on behalf of Joe Biden, Aug. 23, 2020

Business Insider, "Goodyear tumbles 6% after Trump tweets to boycott the company over MAGA hat ban," Aug. 20, 2020

Equities News, "The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (GT) dips 2.7% for August 18," Aug. 18, 2020

PolitiFact, "Calling Goodyear dress code a "ban on MAGA hats" mischaracterizes company policy," Aug. 19, 2020

Tweet by Donald Trump, Aug. 19, 2020

Tweet by Goodyear, Aug. 19, 2020

Washington Post, "The Finance 202: Trump's call for Goodyear boycott joins long history of bullying companies that cross him," Aug. 20, 2020

Whitehouse.gov, "Remarks by President Trump in Press Briefing," Aug. 19, 2020

Yahoo Finance, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company (GT), accessed Aug. 25, 2020

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