Trump Calls for Boycotts of AT&T and Comcast, Says They're 'Radical Left Lunatics Who Are Destroying Our Nation'
Former president burns telecoms who backed his failed 2020 re-election bid
Former president Donald Trump, who has been using his ongoing national circuit of campaign-style rallies to urge the boycott of DirecTV and parent company AT&T for removing conservative channel One America News (OAN), added his re-ignited wrath for Comcast to the flame this past weekend.
Speaking Saturday at the fairgrounds in the East Texas flatland town of Conroe, Trump described both publicly traded telecommunications giants as "left-wing lunatics who are destroying our nation." (The UK's Daily Mail reported on the event.)
Notably, both companies contributed to Trump's failed 2020 re-election bid, according to Open Secrets. AT&T was also an aggressive supporter of Trump's 2017 corporate tax rollback, one of the former president's few big legislative wins. Comcast, meanwhile, backed the Trump-assembled FCC leadership's bid to roll back net neutrality rules established under the Barack Obama administration.
Trump, however, told his followers that the companies are full of "woke" executives who should be boycotted.
AT&T, which now owns 70% of DirecTV after spinning the pay TV company off in a joint venture with private equity firm TPG Capital, has come under fire in recent weeks, after it declared its intention not to renew its carriage agreement with OAN after it expires in April. DirecTV described the move as simply a business decision.
Mirroring comments he made earlier about OAN at a rally in Arizona two weeks ago, Trump said DirecTV's decision to remove the niche channel was "purely political."
‘People love it. People love it. And it's got a big audience,’ Trump said.
For its part, Nielsen has rated OAN's average viewership at far less than 500,000 watchers, and DirecTV still carries conservative informational counterparts Fox News and Newsmax.
A week earlier, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) tweeted a declaration that he was cancelling DirecTV, a pay TV service that he claims "hates" conservatives. TPG donated $274,000 to the Republican National Committee for the 2020 election cycle, Open Secrets said.
At his Arizona rally on Jan. 16, an event covered by Mediaite, Trump alluded to conversations with OAN founders Charles and Robert Herring, who he said had urged him not to use the word "boycott" in regard to AT&T.
“They said please don’t mention the word boycott, so i won’t mention it,” Trump said. “I’m not going to use the word boycott. I will not say boycott AT&T! Because I promised Robert I will not do it! So I will not say boycott them!”
By the time he got to Texas, Trump expanded the verb to also apply to what he called "Concast," claiming that the Philadelphia cable conglomerate, owner of NBCUniversal and NBC News, is "no good." (Citing what he calls "unfair" treatment from NBC News and its MSNBC network, Trump has targeted Comcast with pointed comments for several years.)
"Boycott Comcast and Xfinity while you’re at it," he said. ■
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!