Maine retail giant L.L.Bean on Thursday landed in the hot middle of the political warfare that has divided the nation when President-elect Donald Trump weighed in on a growing boycott of the company by progressives.

Mentioning something directly related to Maine for the first time on his popular Twitter account, Trump tweeted his support Thursday morning for L.L.Bean heiress Linda Bean and the iconic company she’s owned a piece of since the day she was born in 1941.

“Thank you to Linda Bean of L.L.Bean for your great support and courage. People will support you even more now. Buy L.L.Bean. @LBPerfectMaine,” Trump wrote in one of his tweets sent to nearly 20 million followers.

Trump took notice of a boycott bid launched to try to force the retailer to drop Linda Bean, granddaughter of its founder, from its 10-member board after her donations to a pro-Trump political action committee came to light last week.

The California woman who kicked off the boycott, Shannon Coulter, later congratulated her #GrabYourWallet followers Thursday for getting under “Grabby’s thin skin” by targeting companies that back him.

Bean, who owns a lobster and real estate company mentioned in Trump’s tweet, said she’s not going to back down in the face of boycott threats from #GrabYourWallet.


Claiming she’s been “targeted and vilified” by “a small kernel of hard-core bullies out on the Left Coast,” Bean told Fox & Friends on Thursday she never backs down and won’t give in to demands that she resign from the retailer’s board.

Bean said the company’s sales this week have seen a “slight uptick” after the boycott was announced, a development first reported by the Sun Journal.

It isn’t clear whether Trump’s tweet will help the retailer or hurt it.

Twitter exploded with tweets pro and con in the aftermath of Trump’s L.L.Bean comment. Many politically minded people said they either were never going to buy from the company again or planned to shop there immediately, depending on their allegiance.

Mainers, though, are standing by the Freeport-based company.

State Sen. Eric Brakey, R-Auburn, said Thursday that “despite out-of-state attacks, all Mainers know” that L.L.Bean and Linda Bean’s company “provide jobs and give back generously to Maine communities.”


Gov. Paul LePage also weighed in.

“It is reprehensible how progressives have bullied her and her family’s company, and I encourage Mainers and customers around the globe to continue their strong support of L.L.Bean,” the governor said in a statement that also called Linda Bean “a great friend.”

Coulter, who could not be reached Thursday, said earlier in the week that “the reality is that there are serious repercussions for a company’s brand and bottom line when consumers learn it does business with the Trump family or helped to fund Donald’s rise to political power.”

Linda Bean called the boycott bullying.

“It’s bullying me. It’s bullying the companies that I own,” she said.

L.L.Bean Chairman Shawn Gorman has said the retailer has no political positions and doesn’t want to get involved in the controversy surrounding Trump.


He pointed out in a statement late Sunday that Linda Bean does not speak for the board or for the 50 family owners. Federal campaign finance reports show donors linked to L.L.Bean donate to Democratic and Republican causes.

On Wednesday, Making Maine Great Again LLC amended filings to the federal government to show Linda Bean donated $30,000, not $60,000, as the political action committee originally reported.

The filings say a $15,000 contribution came from Diana Bean, who is believed to be Linda Bean’s sister. The rest came from four previously undisclosed contributors, including PAC Chairman David Jones and Lot 5 Liberty LLC, which property records show is the legal entity that owns a property in which PAC donor Jonathan Cohen operates his business.

Linda Bean said the $66,000 raised was used for pro-Trump signs in Maine and to pay for television advertising in the final week of the campaign to have LePage’s wife, Ann, tout the Republican presidential hopeful to Maine voters.

The Federal Election Commission said Bean made excessive contributions to the PAC, which was limited to individual contributions of $5,000 in a single year. The group is taking steps to change its registration to a super PAC, allowing it to raise unlimited funds.

Trump won enough support in the 2nd Congressional District to split Maine’s electoral votes, taking one vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton’s three.


Linda Bean said she’s been a shareholder in the privately held retailer since her grandfather gave her a share on the day she was born. She’s served on its board for decades, she said, “and I think I’ve done a good job for our employees.”

She said the company’s workers are “the victims” if the boycott cuts into sales.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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