Politics

Companies Prepare For Trump’s Twitter Backlash

Most Americans are well-aware of President Donald Trump’s love affair with Twitter, where he often uses the site to criticize or even threaten companies. And while some are wondering how 140 characters or less can truly impact a business, others are actually drafting plans for “war rooms” to address a surprise presidential tweet.

In fact, sources tell The Wall Street Journal that top executives of a science and technology company recently spent an afternoon in a room responding to various fallout scenarios, such as a stock-price plunge, congressional hearings or questions from investigative reporters. And some companies are even thinking about placing ads on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” CNN and “The O’Reilly Factor” — programs and networks from which Trump seems to draw inspiration for tweets.

“Every business and association in Washington is thinking about how they would respond to a tweet from Donald Trump,” said Alex Conant, a partner at the communications firm Firehouse Strategies and a longtime Republican strategist.

When Trump took to Twitter last month to call out Toyota Motor Co. for plans to “build a new plant in Baja, Mexico,” and warned the company to “build plant in U.S. or pay big border tax,” the company was prepared. “We figured our day was coming,” said Scott Vazin, Toyota’s chief communications officer.

As the company’s stock began to inch downward, it drafted a statement that was posted less than two hours later, and Vazin said the company hasn’t been contacted by Trump since.

Other companies have tried to make nice with the president before there’s even anything to worry about. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich visited the White House last week to announce the company’s plans for a $7 billion investment in a major manufacturing plant in Arizona, while BP purchased full-page ads in five newspapers touting its job creation numbers. Other companies such as Walmart and Amazon have issued press releases plugging its U.S. job creation numbers.

There’s no telling exactly how a tweet will impact a business. Last week, Trump went on Twitter to blast Nordstrom for dropping his daughter’s fashion label, and the company’s shares gained more than 4 percent that day.

Still, businesses want to be prepared for any fallout. As one source told WSJ, some firms preparing for potential issues “are saying, ‘I cannot believe my company’s fate is in the hands of one guy’s mobile device.’”

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