Toyota attacked by anti-Trump group as company resumes donations to election deniers

Toyota attacked by anti-Trump group as company resumes donations to election deniers
The Lincoln Project criticised the car company for donating to politicians who resisted certifying the 2020 election results

A renewed ad campaign effort from the Lincoln Group has targeted Toyota for restarting their controversial donation campaign to Republicans who challenged the certification of the results from the 2020 US election.

The new ad, released on Monday, shows scenes of cars rolling off conveyor belts from a factory and, had it not been for the scathing narration overlaying the video, could easily have been mistaken for an ad for the Japanese automaker.

“America’s free market democratic system has been good for companies like Toyota for a long time,” the narrator in the ad begins. “So why would Toyota support politicians who try to overthrow the very system that’s been so profitable for them?”

The campaign ad launched across the country on Tuesday and is set to be broadcast in locations where the company has its top 25 dealerships, including the US headquarters in Plano, Texas, Lincoln Project spokesperson Greg Minchak toldThe Detroit News.

The spokesperson did not disclose to the news outlet how much the anti-Trump lobbying group plans to spend on the ad campaign.

“Toyota has given more money than any company to the seditious politicians who voted to overturn the 2020 election result,” the attack ad continues, highlighting a critique from last year that led some left-leaning watchdogs to call for a boycott of the company.

“Toyota is number one at finding ways to financially reward the very party that took our nation to the brink on January 6th, helping finance a movement that violently sought to take votes away from American customers, not to mention Toyota’s own employees,” the ad continues, while intersplicing images of the 6 January insurrection with a slow-motion crash test dummy colliding with a wall.

“It’s time to call Toyota’s corporate leadership. If they don’t reconsider where they send their money, Americans will reconsider where we send ours,” the ad closes.

This isn’t the first time that the anti-Trump PAC has gone on the attack against the Japanese automaker for their political donations.

In July 2021, a slew of attack ads launched by the Lincoln Project against the company forced their hand to stop donating to Republicans who had disputed the 2020 election results, leading to the automaker to issue a statement that said its support of those select politicians had “troubled some stakeholders”.

That ad campaign, launched again by the Lincoln Project, a group known for their viral video campaigns that seek to antagonise Donald Trump and his loyalists, accused Toyota of donating $55,000 to 37 different Republicans in Congress who had denied US President Joe Biden’s victory.

At that time, the anti-Trump group said they’d stop airing the campaigns after the company pledged to halt donations to the election-denying politicians they’d called out.

Toyota then reversed course on that pledge about six months after the first flare up with The Lincoln Project attack ads, and their political action committee was once again donating to some members who had denied the 2020 election outcome, according to campaign finance filings.

Responding to the company’s seeming reversal from last summer’s pledge, a spokesperson for the automaker told The Detroit News that they had arrived at their decision to restart campaign donations to certain politicians only after “extensive discussions with internal and external stakeholders”.

“We will not support those who, by their words and actions, create an atmosphere that incites violence,” Edward Lewis, the company’s spokesperson, told the news outlet.

Since the violent mob attacked the Capitol in January 2021, Popular Information created a corporate accountability index, which tracked all of the donations that companies made to the 147 Republicans who voted to overturn the election results and ultimately set the stage for the day’s riot.

In their findings, Toyota, who they labelled as the top donor among companies documented, provided $99,500 total to 54 Republican objectors.

Other top donors that the index tracked included two other popular automakers, Chevron and Ford.

The Independent reached out to both Toyota and The Lincoln Project for comment on the ad campaign.