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VERIFY: Did Olive Garden contribute towards Trump's 2020 reelection campaign?

The #BoycottOliveGarden hashtag trended all day Monday.


Did Olive Garden contribute towards Trump's 2020 reelection campaign?




Olive Garden Twitter

Rich Jeffers - spokesperson for Darden Restaurants

Federal Election Commission



Tensions on Twitter reached a boiling point over the politics of Olive Garden and calls for a boycott.

A woman tweeted out "Olive Garden is funding Trump's re-election in 2020. It would be terrible if you shared this and Olive Garden lost business." 

The claim was re-tweeted more than 50,000 times, and has since been deleted.

Credit: Twitter

So we're verifying: Did Olive Garden contribute towards Trump's 2020 reelection campaign?

The brunch and breadsticks company responded directly, denying the claim.

Our researchers went further, looking up Trump campaign finance receipts through the Federal Election Commission and OpenSecrets.org.

"Olive Garden" did not come up in either of the search results for 2020; however, their name did come up in 2016, and their parent company "Darden Restaurants," did in 2016 and 2018.

Neither Olive Garden nor Darden Restaurant contributed as a company, though, rather a handful of their employees did. Under Federal Election Commission rules, anyone who makes a political contribution greater than $200 must list their place of employment. 

Credit: OpenSecrets.org
Darden Restaurant employees contributed $886 to the Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, according to OpenSecrets.org

It's worth noting that a handful of employees equally donated to democratic presidential and congressional nominees: Darden Restaurants employees contributed $8,407 to the Clinton campaign in 2016, about 10 times more than they contributed to Trump.

Credit: OpenSecrets.org
A note at the bottom of OpenSecrets.org points out that employees donated to the political candidates, not the company itself.

Rich Jeffers, the spokesperson for Darden Restaurants, also confirmed the restaurant group does not have a political action committee (PAC). 

In addition to Olive Garden, Darden owns Longhorn Steakhouse, Cheddar's Scratch Kitchen, Yard House, The Capital Grille, Seasons 52, Bahama Breeze and Eddie V's.

So, we can Verify, no, neither Olive Garden nor their parent company Darden Restaurants contributed to the Trump campaign as a company, though employees did on their own. And that viral tweet -- has since been deleted.  

By 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 26 , it appeared the original poster had deleted their account or changed their username.

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This story has been updated to reflect the original poster appeared to have deleted their account.