During their visit to storm-ravaged Texas, Donald and Melania Trump wore hats emblazoned with the acronyms USA and FLOTUS, respectively. For many, the hats were the latest in a well-dressed first couple’s display of accessories. For others, the hats came across as tone deaf considering the state of emergency caused by Hurricane Harvey. Those against the hats argue that the Trump family is once again using the spotlight for product placement, particularly considering that Trump’s Official USA 45th Presidential Hat (the hat he wore in Texas) is sold on his website for $40.
This isn’t the first time the first family has done something like this (remember Ivanka’s team marketing a gold bracelet she wore on 60 Minutes?); nor is it the first time the president has worn his own merchandise in the last week. He wore the same hat in red to two meetings about Hurricane Harvey.
Trump has used his Harvey meetings as product placement for hats he sells for $40 two days in a row now… pic.twitter.com/EQcPkS8Yit
— Gabriel Snyder (@gabrielsnyder) August 27, 2017
Many are miffed about the first couple’s choice of headwear, and they’re expressing their disdain on Twitter, calling particular attention to the blatantly capitalist bend to the caps.
The hat Trump wore to his Hurricane Harvey photo-op is for sale on his website. Res ipsa loquitur.
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) August 30, 2017
— Shannon Watts (@shannonrwatts) August 30, 2017
For a third time, Trump is using Hurricane Harvey as product placement for a hat he sells for $40 pic.twitter.com/8Js7DEnbAs
— Gabriel Snyder (@gabrielsnyder) August 29, 2017
— Commercial Alert (@CommercialAlert) August 30, 2017
On the other side of the coin, many people are jumping to the Trumps’ defense.
— TRUMP USA (@MADE__USA) August 30, 2017
— Bradley Scott (@bradcrain) August 30, 2017
Trump family members are known to use their time in the spotlight — otherwise known as the presidency — to hawk their wares. Trump held multiple press conferences regarding his campaign at his hotels. His daughter Ivanka wore a dress from her own brand during the 2016 Republican National Convention. Even his staff has done it – who could ever forget the time Kellyanne Conway urged viewers to shop Ivanka’s line during a Fox & Friends appearance?
So what do you think? Does this blur ethical lines? Should the president be hawking wares as he aids those in need?
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