(LifeSiteNews) –– Bud Light brand owner Anheuser-Busch InBev enjoyed a bump in its stock prices Wednesday, the day after former President Donald Trump signaled that his supporters should give the company a “second chance” despite never apologizing for its forays into pro-LGBT activism over the past year.
Last April, Bud Light came under fire for a promotional partnership with “transgender” TikTok celebrity Dylan Mulvaney, whom it congratulated for “365 days of womanhood” with commemorative Bud Light cans bearing his face. The news sparked a substantial backlash against the brand, to the point that it eventually fell out of the top 10 most popular beer brands in the United States, and was forced to sell a handful of its lesser drink brands, including their associated employees, pubs, and breweries. Last summer, Anheuser-Busch wholesalers said they did not anticipate alienated Bud Light drinkers returning to the brand.
In response, Bud Light vice president of marketing Alissa Heinerscheid took a leave of absence, Anheuser-Busch CEO Brendan Whitworth issued a statement insisting the brand “never intended to be part of a discussion that divides people,” and the company attempted to placate former customers with more traditional advertising. But the company neither apologized for injecting gender politics into its brand nor committed to abstain from doing so again, and in fact went on to sponsor multiple LGBT “pride” events as well as give $200,000 to the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce.
On Tuesday, however, Trump suggested that while the Mulvaney ad “was a mistake of epic proportions” for which “a very big price was paid,” in his view “Anheuser-Busch is not a Woke company” but rather a “Great American Brand that perhaps deserves a Second Chance.” The same day, it was announced that Jeff Miller, a Republican businessman and Anheuser-Busch lobbyist, will be hosting a fundraiser for the cash-strapped Trump campaign.
MarketWatch reports that on Wednesday, Anheuser-Busch InBev shares experienced their “best one-day rise in three months.” The 4% rise was the stock’s “best single day of gains since a 5% rise on Oct. 31.” Rising stock prices indicate that investors expect sales of the brand to rise with the former president’s blessing to resume purchasing it, but it remains to be seen how many consumers actually will.
Regardless, several conservatives saw Trump’s comments as undermining one of the most effective right-wing boycotts in recent memory, and indicative of a broader lack of interest and/or will to see such efforts through to true victory:
When DeSantis took on Disney, Trump couldn’t comprehend what he was doing. Why would anyone want to punish a large employer that contributes to the economy—and, more importantly, spends millions donating to politicians? It never crossed Trump’s mind that some of these companies…
— David Reaboi, Late Republic Nonsense (@davereaboi) February 7, 2024
Trump gave no strategic reason why abandoning this one single effective boycott effort would be a good idea. Apparently we should back off because it would be the nice thing to do and it’s very important to be nice to foreign conglomerates who push transgenderism.
— Matt Walsh (@MattWalshBlog) February 7, 2024
This Bud Light forgiveness fiasco highlights something that has bothered me about the conservative movement for a long time.
We are uncomfortable winning.
We talk big about owning the libs etc. etc. but when it comes to actually putting policy in action or getting real… pic.twitter.com/cXEHK7DazU
— Brian Jacobson (@BrianHJacobson) February 8, 2024
Trump is not the first high-profile figure to suggest forgiveness of Bud Light: other former celebrity critics, including musician Kid Rock and Ultimate Fighting Championship CEO Dana White both announced last fall they would be resuming business with the brand.
Trump resoundingly prevailed over his more conservative challenger, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, in last month’s Iowa caucuses, prompting DeSantis to suspend his bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Trump maintains a commanding lead for the nomination over his sole remaining GOP opponent, the similarly-moderate former United Nations Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
Fluctuating national polls currently have the ex-president narrowly leading a close race with incumbent Democrat President Joe Biden, although voters also say that potential convictions in his various ongoing trials will make them less likely to support him. It’s also speculated that Democrats may replace Biden with a younger, healthier Democrat such as Gavin Newsom or Dean Phillips–speculation reignited this week by a Justice Department special counsel report faulting Biden for severe memory issues–and it is not yet certain which candidate would lose more votes to Independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s third-party presidential run.