President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign isn’t just trolling the Left with plastic straws, it is also selling merchandise aimed at those who have accused the president of colluding with Russia.
The Daily Wire has reported previously that the Trump campaign is selling plastic straws that bear the candidate’s name. The idea was sparked by campaign manager Brad Parscale, whose paper straw ripped just as he had boarded a flight to Florida. He tweeted his frustration and emailed staff about branding plastic straws from the campaign. As Politico reported, by the time Parscale landed, the straws were already being produced and advertised.
The straws sold out quickly, and the campaign had to order more. Politico’s Alex Isenstadt reported that as of Monday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $550,000 from straw sales.
Straws are not the only products Team Trump is selling to troll opponents. Politico reported that the campaign is also selling “Pencil-Neck Adam Schiff” T-Shirts – a knock at the Democrat congressman from California who has claimed for two years to have “ample” and “more than circumstantial” evidence that the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia. In addition, “I Spy Trump” T-shirts and tank tops are also for sale, a reference to the Obama administration’s spying on the Trump campaign. The campaign is also selling mugs that say “WITCH HUNT” on them, “Collusion Delusion” shirts, and “NO COLLUSION” beverage coolers.
Trump and his associates have mastered the art of selling campaign merchandise as a fad. Everyone knows about the red “Make America Great Again” hats that media outlets try to tie to racism. Trump supporters on their own in 2016 made merchandise that said “Deplorable” on it after Hillary Clinton described them using that word.
Clinton supporters returned the favor by wearing shirts that said “Nasty woman” on them after Trump used the phrase to describe Clinton.
As Politico reported, even some Democrats have taken notice of Trump’s merchandise strategy this election cycle.
“I think something Trump has always understood very clearly is how to tap into a cultural moment or zeitgeist and leverage it to his advantage,” Tara McGowan, a Democratic digital strategist who worked for a pro-Clinton super PAC in 2016, told the outlet. “So, for him, taking a relatively new thing in the world that most people hate (paper straws) and leveraging it to both make a political statement and raise [hundreds of thousands] of dollars by selling plastic straws is both brilliant and sinister.”
Gary Coby, Team Trump’s digital director, said the campaign lets “the news cycle pop” and create merchandising ideas around it.
“I think the president’s the world’s most famous human being, what he says and does makes news and you can draft off of whatever he’s talking about,” Coby told the outlet.
Politico also reported that political professionals said merchandising was a great way to raise funds from small donors, as they get something directly in return for their money.