Republicans won’t be in a partying mood when they gather in Cleveland next week to nominate Donald Trump for president.
GOP aides and lobbyists say there has been a big drop-off in invitations, compared with past presidential conventions, with many establishment Republicans and corporations shunning the event.
The angry populist wave that fueled Trump’s rise has scared corporations away from Cleveland, with many afraid to associate their brands with his controversial — and unpredictable — style of politics.
The shooting of 12 police officers, five fatally, during a protest in Dallas last week underscored for many Republicans and potential corporate sponsors the possibility for unrest in Cleveland.
Many of the companies and firms that will be on hand for the convention have decided to lay low by not hosting parties.
“Corporate brands are always worried about any misperceptions that may happen as a result of either convention, but particularly with what’s going on between Dallas and Trump,” said Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who worked on Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) 2008 presidential campaign.
But just because corporations won’t be plastering their logos on sponsored parties doesn’t mean they won’t have a presence in Cleveland.
“At the same time, even though you’re not seeing their specific names on stuff like you’ve seen in the past, they’re going to be right there,” O’Connell said. “All they’re doing is saying, ‘We’re not part of it,’ but that doesn’t mean they don’t want a seat at the table and the ability to shape policy.”