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Trump, on eve of fundraiser with Anheuser-Busch lobbyist, defends company

Former President Donald Trump offered an olive branch to Anheuser-Busch on Tuesday, issuing a post on his social media platform calling on conservatives to drop their opposition to the besieged beer company.

“The Bud Light ad was a mistake of epic proportions, and for that a very big price was paid, but Anheuser-Busch is not a Woke company,” Trump wrote. “Anheuser-Busch is a Great American Brand that perhaps deserves a Second Chance? What do you think? Perhaps, instead, we should be going after those companies that are looking to DESTROY AMERICA!”

Trump’s post on Truth Social represents a major attempt at de-escalation in a long-simmering feud between the political movement the former president leads and the mega corporation since April 2023, when it came under fire for a sponsored post with a transgender influencer.

Trump’s message also comes as a top Republican lobbyist for the company is set to host a fundraiser for the former president next month, with some tickets going at $10,000 each.

Jeff Miller, a close confidant of former Speaker Kevin McCarthy who built his Washington business during the Trump years, announced on X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday that he would be hosting the fundraiser. The event is set to feature dozens of members of Congress and Republican leadership, as well as Donald Trump Jr.

The younger Trump has also previously defended Anheuser-Busch, saying in an April podcast that the company donated more to Republicans than Democrats and helped McCarthy’s effort to assume control of the House.

“I’m not, though, for destroying an American, an iconic company for something like this,” he said on Rumble. “Frankly, they don’t participate in the same woke garbage that other people in the beer industry actually do who are significantly worse offenders when I looked into it.”

Miller declined to comment. Anheuser-Busch did not immediately return a request for comment. Trump, at one time, reportedly owned millions of dollars in stock in the company.

Anheuser-Busch was criticized and boycotted by conservatives after it sponsored the post from a transgender influencer, who was promoting Bud Light. For almost a year, the company has drawn widespread condemnation from the MAGA influencers and Republican politicians. It even found itself in a congressional probe over allegations it was marketing beer to children. The drumbeat has continued up through last week, with conservatives targeting Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce, who has been a prominent Bud Light spokesperson.

Anheuser-Busch paid $260,000 to Miller’s firm in 2023, according to lobbying disclosure filings. The firm upped its quarterly fee by $20,000 in the second quarter of 2023 — around the time of the backlash.

In its Thanksgiving message on X, Miller’s firm posted a photo of him smiling alongside others hosting Bud Light bottles at Nationals Park. “Cheers to all of our incredible clients,” the message read.

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Author: POLITICO