September 4, 2019
Over Labor Day weekend, the White House distributed photos of President Trump responding to Hurricane Dorian at Camp David wearing what appeared to be a blue Trump campaign hat. While Trump has previously been seen wearing red or camouflage versions of the same hat in his disaster response photo ops as president, we’d never seen the blue hat before. What made the blue hat stand out even more was that it was not for sale on his campaign website.
Guess what went on sale on his campaign website within 48 hours of Labor Day weekend.
Did President Trump use Hurricane Dorian and the White House press office to launch a new product on his campaign website? It sure looks that way. That may sound craven, even for Trump, but this is the president who wore similar campaign hats during disaster response for Hurricane Harvey and to visit the Paradise, California wildfires. And as we wrote yesterday, before he was president, Trump famously gave an interview on a TV news broadcast on 9/11 shortly after the planes hit the Twin Towers and bragged that he now had the tallest building in downtown Manhattan (he didn’t).
Trump quickly abandoned the Camp David hurricane command center to make his 222nd promotional appearance at one of his golf courses. Given the thousands of conflicts of interest between his business and his administration, Trump does not deserve the benefit of the doubt. We have to ask whether he just used a natural disaster to pull a stunt to sell hats for his campaign.