GOP Presidential Field Largely Silent On Whether Or Not They’ll Accept Donations From ‘Woke’ Corporations

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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  • Conservatives continue to boycott “woke” corporations, like Target, Anheuser-Busch and the Walt Disney Company, for taking left-wing positions on social and political issues.
  • Many GOP primary contenders either left the door open or remained silent as to whether they’d accept campaign contributions from corporate political action committees (PACs) affiliated with the “woke” companies, they told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
  • “Donations to the Pence campaign are evaluated on an individual basis to determine if there is alignment on principles and values,” a spokesperson for former Vice President Mike Pence told the DCNF in a statement.

The GOP presidential field was largely silent when the Daily Caller News Foundation asked if their respective campaigns planned on accepting contributions from “woke” corporations.

Once seen as natural allies, Republicans and big businesses increasingly find themselves at odds as the GOP’s base becomes more concerned with corporations pushing “wokeness” — most recently illustrated by conservative-led boycotts of Target for pushing “Pride” merchandise on children. The DCNF asked every GOP presidential candidate if they would accept campaign donations from “woke” corporate PACs.

The campaigns of South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott and former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson declined to comment. The campaigns of former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, businessman Vivek Ramaswamy and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez didn’t respond at all. The campaigns of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, talk radio host Larry Elder, former Vice President Mike Pence and former President Donald Trump did respond, but none said they’d refuse “woke” corporate PAC donations.

“Governor DeSantis enjoys broad support, including from Disney expats and even a former Soros employee who rejects the woke and embraces law and order,” Bryan Griffin, DeSantis’ press secretary, told the DCNF in a statement. “We will gladly utilize any contributions to oppose Soros’ (or Disney’s, or Fauci’s) agenda and benefit the American people.”

Though large corporations can’t directly contribute to candidates, political parties or PACs, their employee-funded, affiliated corporate PACs can, according to Open Secrets. Target and Anheuser-Busch‘s corporate PACs contributed to more Republican than Democratic campaigns in the 2022 midterms, and Disney‘s gave $61,000 to GOP candidates.

DeSantis has gone after Disney for the last year after the corporation criticized the governor’s Parental Rights in Education Bill for not being inclusive of the LGBT community. The governor signed legislation in February revoking Disney of their special tax privileges, sparking a months-long feud between the two.

“Nobody has done more to defeat the woke onslaught than Governor Ron DeSantis,” Griffin told the DCNF. “He stood up to Disney even when other Republicans criticized him for doing so and took Disney’s side. Thanks to Governor DeSantis, Florida is where woke goes to die, and he will bring that same fight to the White House.”

Target launched a “Pride collection” for the month of June, including clothing for babies and children’s books promoting LGBT ideology as well as “tuck-friendly” bathing suits. Anheuser-Busch’s Bud Light teamed up with transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney, whose face was pictured on their beer cans. Disney has been pushing LGBT and DEI ideologies into content for children, as well as in their theme parks.

Though Elder criticized the companies for alienating many Americans, he didn’t close the door to accepting campaign contributions from their corporate PACs.

“Target and Bud Light have a lot of explaining to do to the American people, and a lot of making up to do with freedom-loving Americans and caring parents,” Elder told the DCNF in a statement. “If they’d like to spend money to reach more patriotic Americans, have civil discussions and respect parental rights, I’m here to have that discussion. Unlike the radical left, I won’t be closed off to new ideas nor anyone who wants to have a civil, reasonable discussion — whether they’re woke or not.”

Pence’s campaign provided a less-direct answer and told the DCNF that campaign contributions would be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

“Donations to the Pence campaign are evaluated on an individual basis to determine if there is alignment on principles and values,” a spokesperson told the DCNF in a statement.

People march with Disney Pride at the 2023 LA Pride Parade on June 11, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (ROBYN BECK/Getty Images)

Trump’s campaign did not answer the DCNF’s question, but instead offered a statement attacking DeSantis’ record. (RELATED: In Case You’re Having Trouble Keeping Up, Here Are The Top ‘Woke’ Brands Conservatives Are Punishing Today)

“Ron DeSantis is basing his entire existence on fighting woke culture, but he is a walking hypocrite that tries to gaslight the American people in order to cover up his background,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung told the DCNF. “As more and more voters learn about his abhorrent and disgusting past, the more he continues to sink in the polls like he’s done since getting into the race.”

Haley has been critical of DeSantis’ battle with the corporation, and slammed the governor for accepting “$50,000 in political contributions from Disney,” she said at a CNN town hall on June 4. DeSantis reacted to Haley’s remarks the following day and told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade the contributions don’t mean he condones Disney’s politics.

“Somebody does a campaign contribution and you’re supposed to lay down for them? That is not how I operate,” said DeSantis. “People can support me or not support me. I call them as I see them, and if you have supported me but you’re wrong, I am going to do what’s right.”

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