Heard on the Hill

Maine Democrat to Trump: L.L. Bean Doesn't Need Your Help

Chellie Pingree sees no reason for liberals to boycott the retailer

Maine Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree thinks there's "absolutely" no reason for liberals to boycott L.L. Bean because one of its board members donated to a PAC supporting Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Liberals should not be boycotting L.L. Bean just because a board member supported Donald Trump, Maine’s sole Democrat in Congress, Rep. Chellie Pingree of North Haven, said Friday.

“It’s a great company and those are American-made boots,” said Pingree, who can often be spotted strolling through the House with one of the Maine-based company’s canvas totes slung over her shoulder.

Linda Bean, the granddaughter of the company’s founder and a member of the company’s board, donated to a political action committee that supported president-elect Donald Trump. Original Federal Election Commission reports showed Bean donated in excess of the PAC contribution limits. Bean has long been a GOP donor, giving to Pingree’s Republican colleague, Rep. Bruce Poliquin, and twice ran unsuccessfully for the House herself.  

That’s not a problem, Pingree said.

“It’s very different from a company itself investing in a political candidate; this is just one member of a board,” the Democratic congresswoman said. “She’s been on that board forever, and you know in Maine, people respect the family and respect her political views and know that everyone doesn’t always agree," Pingree added. 

Appearing on “Fox and Friends" on Thursday, Bean compared the boycott to bullying.

In a Thursday morning tweet, Trump thanked Bean for her “support and courage” and encouraged shopping at the company, saying, “Buy L.L. Bean.”

Pingree said the privately held company didn’t need his promotional help, and likely would have just been fine, despite the boycott. 

But Trump complicated matters, she said.

“When the president-elect made it a national issues, it’s kinda like, ‘Wait a minute, is this a Donald Trump boot?’ They’re just good ol’ L.L. Bean boots, made in America, and we should be proud to wear them,” Pingree said of the company’s duck boots, which have proven so popular in recent years that they've sold out before winter is over.

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