July 9, 2021

Toyota left enough wiggle room to drive a car through in its statement that it would stop donating to election-denying members of Congress.

The company came under pressure by The Lincoln Project for its continued support of seditionist Republicans. “Toyota’s Number One at finding ways to financially reward the very party that took our nation to the brink on January 6th,” a Lincoln Project ad states, “helping finance a movement that violently sought to take votes away from American customers, not to mention Toyota’s own employees.”

Thursday, the Lincoln Project said it will stop running the ad and praised Toyota for having “made the right choice” and putting “democracy ahead of transactional politics.”

I say, not so fast. Here is Toyota’s statement in full (my emphases added):

Toyota is committed to supporting and promoting actions that further our democracy. Our company has long-standing relationships with Members of Congress across the political spectrum, especially those representing our U.S. operations. Our bipartisan PAC equally supports Democrats and Republicans running for Congress. In fact, in 2021, the vast majority of the contributions went to Democrats and Republicans who supported the certification of the 2020 election. We understand that the PAC decision to support select Members of Congress who contested the results troubled some stakeholders. We are actively listening to our stakeholders and, at this time, we have decided to stop contributing to those Members of Congress who contested the certification of certain states in the 2020 election.

Toyota definitely did not say it would no longer support any member of Congress who contested the election, just those who contested the certification of “certain states” “at this time.” The company definitely did not apologize for having done so. Furthermore, its statement that Toyota has “long-standing relationships” with members of Congress in districts where the company has U.S. operations almost sounds like a winking reassurance to those long-time pals that they will not be forsaken.

I got curious about where some of those districts might be. Without breaking down the Congressional districts, I could see, right off the bat, that Toyota has plants in Texas, Missouri and Alabama and a headquarters in Texas. A senator from each of those states voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election. Later, 106 Republican members of Congress and 17 state attorneys general supported Texas’ doomed lawsuit to overturn the election.

Toyota’s statement is a step in the right direction and certainly better than nothing. But nobody should feel confident the company has fully changed its ways and let up on the pressure.


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