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Trump kept quiet on the Bud Light boycott. It turns out he owns Anheuser-Busch stock

EXCLUSIVE: Ex-president didn’t join GOP rivals in calling for boycott of company in which he owns stock

Andrew Feinberg
Wednesday 26 April 2023 18:16 BST
Behind the backlash and disinformation surrounding Bud Light's collaboration with trans actress

When conservative activists and Maga influencers called for a boycott of Bud Light beer over a sponsorship deal with trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney, one notable GOP figure stayed silent on the matter: Former president Donald Trump.

The twice-impeached ex-president’s silence on the bubbling controversy stood out among GOP presidential contenders, many of whom spoke out against the maker of Bud Light, Anheuser-Busch InBev.

One possible Republican White House hopeful and Mr Trump’s highest-polling rival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, said a boycott of the beverage was justified because the company’s decision to partner with Ms Mulvaney, a TikTok star who garnered an invitation to the White House last fall, was “rubbing our faces in it”.

“So, if you as a consumer are … ‘Like, yeah, they’re doing that, but I’m just going to keep drinking anyways.’ Well, then they’re going to keep doing it,” Mr DeSantis said, before extolling the power of the selective boycott. “So I think we have power as consumers to make our voice heard and not on every company because sometimes conservative consumers aren’t going to make a dent in some companies. This one is one,’” he said during an appearance on The Benny Show.

He added that Anheuser-Busch’s work with Ms Mulvaney was “part of a larger thing where corporate America is trying to change our country, trying to change policy, trying to change culture”.

Two of Mr Trump’s former allies turned rivals – ex-vice president Mike Pence and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley – also weighed in on the controversy in favour of boycotting the brewer’s products, with Ms Haley saying the marketing partnership “makes a mockery of women” and Mr Pence decrying what he described as “gender insanity” which “continues to poison our public discourse”.

Dylan Mulvaney announces brand partnership with Bud Light. (Dylan Mulvaney / Instagram)

Mr Trump is himself no stranger to hurling attacks on transgender people as part of his political persona. In a video released by his campaign to outline a second-term agenda if he’s returned to the White House, he has vowed to “stop the chemical, physical, and emotional mutilation” of minors through federal action, and has promised to unleash federal law enforcement on doctors and other healthcare providers who provide gender-affirming treatment to transgender people.

Yet Mr Trump never spoke out about the boycott of Bud Light.

According to data reviewed by The Independent, it’s possible that Mr Trump’s reluctance to criticise the company that makes the middling American beverage stems from his personal financial interests.

Mr Trump’s most recent financial disclosure shows he holds a significant financial interest in Anheuser-Busch InBev, the company that produces Bud Light.

Donald Trump. (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The disclosure form, which is on file with the Federal Election Commission, shows the twice-impeached former president owns between $1m and $5m in Anheuser-Busch InBev stock under an account listed as “DJT Trust — Investment Account #2”.

The former president is not the only member of his family not to speak out in favour of boycotting the company.

His eldest son, Donald Trump Jr, became one of the first high-profile GOP figures to call for an end to the boycott, citing the “iconic” status of Anheuser-Busch.

“So here’s the deal. Anheuser-Busch totally s*** the bed with this Dylan Mulvaney thing. I’m not, though, for destroying an American, an iconic company for something like this,” he said on a recent episode of his Triggered podcast.

Donald Trump Jr speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, USA, 03 March 2023. (EPA)

He added that the company does not “participate in the same woke garbage that other people in the beer industry actually do” and claimed the company’s competitors “are significantly worse offenders”.

It’s unclear whether the younger Mr Trump also holds stock in the beverage maker, but it’s likely that he is at least somewhat aware that his father owns the stock through a trust because he was made one of the trustees charged with overseeing it during his father’s presidency.

Representatives for Mr Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Independent.

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