Goodyear found itself in a precarious spot on Aug. 19: in the crosshairs of President Trump's Twitter feed.
The president called for a boycott of Goodyear products after seeing a report that the company was discouraging all political attire at work, including MAGA attire.
But Trump's call for a boycott goes well beyond tires, even those that are fitted on the presidential limo. This is a move that impacts a business that very much is woven into the fabric of America. More than that, it impacts the lives of Americans who deserve far better.
When the U.S. entered World War II, Goodyear's facilities became manufacturing hubs that welcomed Rosie the Riveter and built airplanes and airplane parts for the war effort.
When astronauts broke the bonds of earth and set foot on the moon for the first time, Goodyear was there, too. It made parts for the Apollo 11 command module. Today, the company is integral to the Mars exploration missions.
It's even bolstered traditions such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade—Goodyear made balloons for the parade from the mid-1920s through 1983. Its iconic blimp also changed the way Americans watch stadium sports, providing aerial coverage of big games that ultimately shaped broadcasting and earned it a spot in the College Football Hall of Fame.
For those who live in the city of Akron, Goodyear is bigger than a company. It's part of the city's identity and pride. And when the tire maker made the decision to keep its headquarters here instead of moving elsewhere, Akron won; Akron came first.
That hasn't always been the case for Goodyear and the cities in which it has a presence. The company's decision to shutter its Gadsden, Ala., plant earlier this year is proof that the tire maker is not immune from globalization—the kind that could lead to loss of jobs at home. Its newest North American tire factories opened in Mexico in 2017 and Canada in 1990. Those decisions likely cost American jobs.
And if a U.S. president wants to take shots at an American company, those are the shots that need to be taken. Let's fight to keep American manufacturing jobs at home. Let's fight to help more companies make decisions like Goodyear did in 2007 when it chose Akron, an American city, above all else.
A president's job is to protect the lives and livelihoods of those who call America home. It is not to take on companies with leadership that doesn't agree with him or her. The president's job is not to call for boycotts of American companies, moves that could cost more job loss—from R&D, engineering and manufacturing all the way to service technicians.
Sadly, that's what happened here. Ego came first.
Worst of all? Goodyear claims it didn't authorize the slide that is circulating on social media, the one that angered Trump because it called MAGA apparel "unacceptable" work attire and led to his call for a boycott.
Where this will end up, we can't know for sure. We just hope hard-working Americans and American cities aren't hurt because of an impulsive tweet.