How much did Toyota donate to GOP election objectors? Customers say 'goodbye' as firm defends move
Toyota defends donations saying it 'isn't appropriate' to judge Congress 'based on their votes', leaving Twitter furious with plans to boycott
Japanese car manufacturer Toyota is in hot soup at the moment, after it emerged they donated directly to several Republicans who objected to the certification of electoral votes. The news has led to widespread condemnation of the company, which has defended its move with a rather controversial take.
Toyota is hardly the first company to face backlash for its politics. Over the last year, numerous firms have been slammed, threatened with boycotts and legal action for taking any sort of stance. In April, Georgia state Republican lawmakers slammed Coca-Cola for denouncing the state's proposed election laws. In August 2020, Trump called on supporters to boycott Goodyear when the company banned "political attire". In February 2021, MAGA supporters boycotted the Bank of America for cooperating with law enforcement over the January 6 insurrection.
Now it appears as if Toyota is next in line, but this time it's not conservatives who will be boycotting. Instead, Democratic supporters are leading the calls to boycott the company after it emerged that they donated to the GOP. To be exact, Toyota led corporate donations to lawmakers who objected to certifying the votes and conceding that Biden won.
How much did Toyota donate?
According to Axios, which broke the story, Toyota donated around $55,000 to 37 GOP objectors this year. The firm isn't the only one. Dubbed the 'Sedition Caucus' by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), at least 103 of the 147 members who objected received corporate donations after January 6. Other firms that donated to these politicians include AT&T, Deere & Company, Cubic Corp, Koch Industries and Pfizer.
However, the reason Toyota is at the receiving end is CREW's report, which indicates the company donated the most. The company gave more than twice as much as the second-biggest donor, Cubic Corp, a San Diego-based defense firm. Toyota reportedly made a total of 37 donations totaling $55,0000, while Cubic Corp made just 8 donations. That includes donations to both Senators and Representatives through corporate PACs.
CREW found that those who voted to object received a total of $2.6 million in corporate funding since January 6, despite several companies publicly announcing boycotts on donations. Health insurer Cigna, for example, donated $30,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC) and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) despite announcing a boycott. Others who walked back on boycotts include AT&T, Pfizer, Jetblue, the National Association of Realtors, and of course Toyota.
The firm said on January 10, "Given recent events and the horrific attack on the US Capitol, we are assessing our future PAC criteria." However, it appears that no review took place and donations continue to flow to Republicans like Rep Andy Biggs, who have vocally expressed conspiracy theories. In response to the news, Toyota told Axios, "We do not believe it is appropriate to judge members of Congress solely based on their votes on the electoral certification." That response was enough for Twitter to see red.
'Don't buy Toyota', says Twitter
The short reply caught the eye of many social media users, who were quick to call for a boycott of the firm. "So, don’t buy Toyota. Got it," one person tweeted. Another commented, "This is so disappointing. @Toyota."
So, don’t buy Toyota. Got it. https://t.co/yXSmyUFmAs— Angry Staffer (@Angry_Staffer) June 28, 2021
"@toyota- my husband and I have been driving your vehicles for nearly 20 years. Your response to @axios shows us a side that warrants us having to rethink continued vehicle ownership under your brand. #GoodbyeToyota," tweeted one person. One user said, "This response is arguably even more disturbing than the initial donations, @Toyota. Just a terrible, terrible look."
@toyota - my husband and I have been driving your vehicles for nearly 20 years. Your response to @axios shows us a side that warrants us having to rethink continued vehicle ownership under your brand. #GoodbyeToyota https://t.co/QpvkQxiI8L— Love, Barry 🏳️🌈 (@JoesBrat67) June 28, 2021
A person tweeted, "I'm in the market to buy a new car, and [email protected] was at the top of my list, but definitely not anymore. Wow. Shameful." Another said, "I'm saddened that Toyota supports the election deniers, as I like their cars. Crossing Toyota off my list when I buy my next car."
I'm saddened that Toyota supports the election deniers, as I like their cars. Crossing Toyota off my list when I buy my next car— Debbie, The Crabby Dragon (@Deb1323) June 28, 2021
Rep Glenn Thompson tops the list of those benefitting from corporate donations, having raised $44,000 according to CREW. Others who benefitted despite objecting to Biden's win include Rep. Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Tommy Tuberville, Rep. Lance Gooden, and Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer. Toyota is yet to respond to the unfolding PR crisis, as are others who CREW has found walked back on their promises.