Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis hasn’t announced yet that he’s running for president, but the lane he appears to have picked for his expected campaign is that of an all-out culture war. He’s been battling one of his state’s most important businesses, The Walt Disney Company, for months, most recently by threatening to place either a rival theme park or a prison near Walt Disney World.
DeSantis has now joined the movement to boycott Bud Light, over their recent social media sponsorship of trans influencer Dylan Mulvaney. But DeSantis made his big move to do so more than two weeks after the Bud Light boycott story started, and at a time when some on the Republican side, including Donald Trump, Jr., and the main Congressional campaign committee for the Republicans, had called for the boycott to end.
The Florida governor appeared this week for an interview with conservative influencer Benny Johnson, and Johnson asked him about the boycott.
“Why would you want to drink Bud Light?” DeSantis asked. “That’s like them rubbing our faces in it. And it’s like these companies that do this, they never have any response, they’re just gonna keep doing it… so I think we have power as consumers to make our voice heard and not on every company, because sometimes conservative consumers aren’t gonna make a dent in [it.]. But this one is one, if you don’t have conservative beer drinkers, you’re going to feel that.”
DeSantis also vowed to never drink Bud Light again, as Johnson walked with him through a grocery store where beer was on display. He went on to say that he prefers to drink Guinness Stout.
The Bud Light boycott began around April 1, when Mulvaney, a popular trans influencer on Instagram and TikTok, posted a video of herself with Bud Light beer cans, including a commemorative can she received from the brand to observe the first anniversary of her coming out.
Kid Rock posted a video of himself shooting at Bud Light cases with a gun, while the brand was denounced by Republican politicians. There were anecdotal reports from bar owners claiming that customers have been ordering a lot less Bud Light.
Meanwhile, there was obsessive tracking of the stock of InBev, Bud Light’s parent company, which also owns dozens of other beverage brands around the world. And while proponents of the boycott have argued that the stock has lost billions of dollars in value due to the controversy, InBev’s stock is trading at very close to a 52-week high and is much higher than it was at this time a month ago.
Of course, the Mulvaney controversy is far from the only thing that could cause the stock to go up or down.
Trump, Jr. announced that he opposed the Bud Light boycott for the same reason that a lot of people on the left have been slow to embrace Bud Light — the company’s extensive history of donations to Republicans.
“So here’s the deal. Anheuser-Busch totally sh*t the bed with this Dylan Mulvaney thing. I’m not, though, for destroying an American, an iconic company for something like this,” the son of the former president told Fox News.
The Daily Beast reported last week that the National Republican Campaign Committee had backed off of a fundraising email that mocked Bud Light.
Donald Trump, a noted non-drinker, has not weighed in on Bud Light. But there has been pushback against his son.
“The GOP establishment is circling the wagons around Anheuser Busch. These people don’t have any interest in pushing back against corporate wokeism or transgenderism,” anti-trans activist Matt Walsh said on Twitter, per Fox News.
Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.