House Speaker Paul Ryan is set to tour New Balance’s Lawrence, Mass., factory today.
According to the Associated Press, Ryan will give an update on the tax code changes being worked on behind closed doors by Republican-led Congress and President Donald Trump’s administration. Ryan’s website states that he will “discuss how tax reform will create jobs and grow our economy.” During his tour, the Wisconsin Republican is also expected to have a roundtable discussion with New Balance owner Jim Davis, Boston Mayor Dan Rivera, who is a Democrat, and other business leaders and elected officials.
Davis, according to the AP, “gave nearly $2 million during the last election to Republican candidates and political action committees across the country, including $100,000 to Ryan’s campaign, federal campaign records show.”
Following Trump’s win in the 2016 election, New Balance was the first U.S. sportswear brand to publicly back the newly elected president. According to Wall Street Journal reporter Sara Germano, New Balance VP of public affairs Matt LeBretton said that President Barack Obama’s administration had been unresponsive to several of the brand’s efforts and that he was feeling more optimistic with Trump at the helm.
The comments spurred some people to burn their New Balance sneakers — and post videos of it on Twitter.
The brand then gave this statement to Footwear News: “As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less. New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump prior to election day that focused on American manufacturing job creation, and we continue to support them today.”
According to the AP’s report, there is a protest planned to take place across the street from the New Balance factory today. Ryan’s remarks will be livestreamed at 3:15 p.m. ET.