Home Depot co-founders Arthur Blank (L) and Bernie Marcus before the Home Depot annual shareholder meeting in 2007. AJC file
Photo: Louie Favorite/AJC
Photo: Louie Favorite/AJC

The Jolt: Donald Trump joins Democratic effort to discourage a Home Depot boycott

Last night, President Donald Trump chose to side with Georgia Democrats who have spent the last 72 hours trying to tamp down talk of a boycott of Atlanta-based Home Depot.

No, really. That’s what happened.

The episode started with an AJC report that Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus had decided to give away most of his fortune -- and that some of that cash would go to Trump’s re-election effort.

Offended liberals began spreading an ominous hashtag: #boycotthomedepot.

But anyone who knows anything about Georgia politics knows that Home Depot philanthropy is quite bipartisan. 

Late Monday night, state Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, countered with her own Twitter message, pointing out that the company’s other co-founder, Arthur Blank, is a Democrat who donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign and other down-ticket races. 

“It's not all so cut and dried. So do your research before you #BoycottHomeDepot,” she wrote. 

On Tuesday morning, Stacey Evans, a 2018 gubernatorial contender, offered an amen. Evans’ Twitter message:

“Not everything is about politics. 1000s of Georgians put food on the table bc of jobs at @HomeDepot and many cmmy orgs benefit from the the co’s generosity. Knee jerk reactions are out of control, y’all!”

So Trump was somewhat late to the game when he Tweeted the following last night:

A truly great, patriotic & charitable man, Bernie Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot who, at the age of 90, is coming under attack by the Radical Left Democrats with one of their often used weapons. They don’t want people to shop at those GREAT stores because he contributed....

Followed by this:

....to your favorite President, me! These people are vicious and totally crazed, but remember, there are far more great people (“Deplorables”) in this country, than bad. Do to them what they do to you. Fight for Bernie Marcus and Home Depot!

Trump made no mention of Blank.

Clearly, it won’t do for both Republicans and Democrats to defend Home Depot from a boycott. That wouldn’t make sense. So here’s what we’ll do: Bernie Marcus supporters will patronize everything from the nuts-and-bolts aisle to pressure-treated lumber. 

Support for Arthur Blank will be confined to the power tool aisle west to the home-and-garden section. Everyone agree?

***

Our AJC colleague Mark Niesse reports that two federal lawsuits over the 2018 election have been quietly resolved after changes to state law governing absentee ballots. State law now prohibits election officials from disqualifying absentee ballots because of a signature mismatch or a missing birth year and address.

***

Now there are two: Clarkston Mayor Ted Terry, who has pushed his city to embrace pioneering liberal policies, launched a campaign Wednesday against Republican U.S. Sen. David Perdue with a promise to “bring courage back to Washington.” The other Democrat in the contest is Teresa Tomlinson, the former mayor of Columbus.

***

Speaking of Clarkston: Nearby Scottdale, also in DeKalb County, is one of the 15 fast-growing communities in the U.S., according to a report in today’s Wall Street Journal.

*** 

Our WSB Radio colleague Jamie Dupree has latched onto this eyebrow-raising nugget from Monday’s hearing before a three-judge panel on the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act:

During over 90 minutes of arguments, the two Republican judges openly struggled with whether to send the case back to a lower court for more work, puzzled by a new brief from the Trump Administration, which suggested that the Obama health law basically be repealed only in the 18 GOP-led states involved in this legal challenge.

"I think we would have to evaluate whether we've been the victim of a bait and switch," said Kyle Hawkins, the Solicitor General in the state of Texas, about that idea.

Georgia, of course, is one of those 18 red states pressing the case.

*** 

Hillary Rodham Clinton is coming to Atlanta, reports our AJC colleague Ernie Suggs. The former secretary of state, first lady and Democratic party presidential candidate will be honored during a three-day gathering of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that starts July 18.

*** 

We told you Tuesday that three Republican candidates had announced their candidacies for the state House District 71 seat vacated recently by David Stover of Newnan.

Now there’s a fourth: Marcy Westmoreland Sakrison, also of Newnan.

That middle name is there for a reason. She doesn’t say so in the press release, but Sakrison is the daughter of former Georgia congressman Lynn Westmoreland – who served as leader of the GOP caucus in the state House before going to Washington.

***

Since losing the Republican runoff for governor to Brian Kemp last year, former lieutenant governor Casey Cagle has nearly disappeared from view. But a GOP candidate in the Sixth District congressional race is bringing Cagle back – as something of a villain.

A fundraising email sent by businesswoman Marjorie Greene on Tuesday contains this attack on Brandon Beach, a state senator from Alpharetta:

[Beach] voted along with Casey Cagle for the LARGEST tax hike in Georgia state history -- more than a billion dollars a year! He even gave Casey Cagle $3,900 last year in opposition to Brian Kemp in the governor run off.

The email contains no specifics. We’re guessing that the “tax hike” is a reference to recent legislation that subjected Internet purchases to the same sales tax that brick-and-mortar stores pay. But Cagle, president of the Senate, can’t vote.

No, the more interesting aspect of Greene’s note is that someone thinks the fault line created by last year’s GOP race for governor is still there – and worth exploiting.

***

Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux raised about $280,000 over the last three months and has about $500,000 on hand for her Seventh District congressional campaign. 

She said her second-quarter haul includes nearly 2,000 contributions from donors - and nothing from corporate PACs. After a narrow loss in 2018, she’s facing a crowded field for another shot at the Gwinnett- and Forsyth-based seat. 

***

Over at Project Q, Patrick Saunders brings us an interesting tidbit about a Gwinnett County race: Former state Sen. Curt Thompson is vying to become the first openly LGBTQ chair of the commission. 

Writes Saunders: 

Thompson’s sexual orientation was little known until now, with no apparent mention of it in previous media reports during his two years as a state representative and his ensuing 14 years as a state senator. 

Thompson chalked that up to bisexual erasure.

“You can be out as bisexual and no one notices,” he told Project Q Atlanta. “I certainly didn’t hide that from anybody and certainly told folks that.”

Thompson, a Democrat, said he assumed his former Senate colleagues were aware of his sexual orientation.

***

Georgia attorney-turned-ambassador Randy Evans had a busy year in Luxembourg. He sent over a snapshot of his diplomatic doings that included visits from the U.S. Commerce secretary, 19 members of Congress, the U.S. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues and more than 250 meetings and events with Luxembourg officials. 

We are still waiting for our invite. We know it’s in the mail.

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