Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump is adding his voice to chorus of conservative critics condemning Starbucks for its decision to abandon Christmas-themed coffee cups this year.
For years, Starbucks has sold holiday-themed cups featuring “symbols of the season,” but the company has decided to move towards more neutral red cups this fall. “This year we wanted to usher in the holidays with a purity of design that welcomes all of our stories,” Jeffrey Fields, Starbucks’ vice president of design and content, said in a statement. And while the coffee chain still sells Advent calendars and a Christmas coffee blend, this change has resurrected familiar concerns about a so-called “war on Christmas.”
“I have one of the most successful Starbucks, in Trump Tower. Maybe we should boycott Starbucks? I don’t know. Seriously, I don’t care. That’s the end of that lease, but who cares?” Trump told a crowd of supporters in Springfield, Illinois, on Monday. “If I become president, we’re all going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again, that I can tell you. That I can tell you.”
This is not the first time Trump has gone after a specific company or product with policies that offend him. He has already pledged to personally boycott Oreo cookies because of Nabisco’s plans to move some of its operations to Mexico.
“I love Oreos. I will never eat them again. Nabisco closes the plant in Chicago and they are moving the plant to Mexico. Why?” Trump asked rhetorically while addressing a rally in Alabama. The Oreos line eventually became a regular talking point for Trump on the stump.
Meanwhile, Starbucks is bearing the brunt of a religiously conservative backlash. An Arizona-based “social media personality” named Joshua Feuerstein posted a video on Facebook earlier this month encouraging Starbucks customers to give their name as “Merry Christmas,” forcing baristas to write it on cups. The video currently has more than 12 million views and has been shared more than 400,000 times.
This the second Starbucks coffee cup controversy of the year. The company was widely ridiculed in March for promoting a “#RaceTogether” campaign, where customers were encouraged to engage the baristas in a dialogue about racial issues. In a statement to NBC’s “TODAY,” Starbucks said that their Christmas cup decision was about creating “a culture of belonging, inclusion and diversity” and welcoming “customers from all backgrounds and religions in our stores around the world.”