U.S. (CBS) — Home Depot appeared to distance itself from its co-founder Bernie Marcus after his support for President Trump’s reelection campaign led to calls for a boycott of the retailer. The boycott campaign even drew a response from Mr. Trump, who said the people slamming Home Depot are “vicious and totally crazed.”
“Bernie retired from The Home Depot more than 15 years ago and isn’t speaking on behalf of the company,” Home Depot spokeswoman Margaret Smith said in a media statement. “In fact, as a standard practice, the company does not endorse Presidential candidates.”
Marcus – a 90-year-old billionaire who left Home Depot in 2002 – has been backing Mr. Trump and other Republicans for years. He donated $7 million to Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
But Marcus’ support drew a new wave of scrutiny after he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month that he planned to donate to Mr. Trump’s 2020 campaign. Marcus said he stood by the president even though he thought Mr. Trump’s communication “sucks.”
“He’s got a businessman’s common sense approach to most things,” Marcus said. “Now, do I agree with every move that he makes? No, I don’t. But the truth is he has produced more than anybody else. He has. If we look at this country, I would say that we are better off today than we were eight years ago or six years ago.”
Marcus’ comments set off a #BoycottHomeDepot campaign online, with users saying they would cut up their Home Depot cards and never shop at its stores again.
The campaign caught the attention of Mr. Trump, who fired off three tweets Tuesday night slamming the boycott. In his tweets, Mr. Trump called Marcus a “truly great, patriotic & charitable man” who contributed to “your favorite President.”
“These people are vicious and totally crazed,” Mr Trump said about the boycotters. “Do to them what they do to you. Fight for Bernie Marcus and Home Depot!”
Another Home Depot co-founder, Ken Langone, has also been an outspoken supporter of Mr. Trump and the GOP.