Trump campaign cashes in on his impeachment


Trump's campaign shop is selling a variety of impeachment-themed merchandise to help fund his reelection effort.

The Trump campaign is selling impeachment-themed merchandise to fund his 2020 reelection bid, Axios reported Monday.

According to the outlet, the campaign is turning "a perilous, shame-inducing inquiry into an aggressive fundraising and mobilization tool."

The Trump campaign online store currently offers t-shirts emblazoned with impeachment-related phrases such as "Read the Transcripts" and "Where's Hunter," a reference to former Vice President Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden.

"Read the Transcripts" refers to Trump's repeated pleas to the public to read the July 25 call transcript between himself and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, during which he asked Zelenskiy for "a favor" — an investigation into his political rivals. Trump maintains that the transcript exonerates him of any wrongdoing and proves he was simply tamping down on corruption in Ukraine, rather than soliciting election help from a foreign government, which is illegal, according to the Federal Election Commission.

The July 25 call and Trump's broader actions toward Ukraine, including his efforts to withhold critical aid and attempts to condition a White House meeting on an investigation into his political rivals, are now at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry.

Also up for sale on the Trump campaign shop is a shirt with the word "Bull" in front of a photo of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, which has been investigating Trump.

Another shirt includes the phrase, "Get Over It," a reference to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney's remarks at a press conference in October. During that press conference, Mulvaney admitted that Trump had engaged in a quid pro quo with Ukraine in hopes of forcing the country to open investigations into Trump's political rivals.

"No question about that. But that's it, that's why we held up the money," Mulvaney said at the time, referring to Trump's efforts to push Ukraine to investigate a long-debunked conspiracy about the Democratic National Committee servers.

He added, "I have news for everybody: Get over it. There’s going to be political influence in foreign policy."

Trump fans can also purchase a car decal in the shape of a stop sign with the phrase "STOP the impeachment hoax."

The cost of all the impeachment-related paraphernalia at the campaign store comes to $120 for the four t-shirts and the decals, which come in a 2-pack.

It is unclear how much money the Trump campaign has raised from the impeachment-related merchandise thus far. Campaign officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump's decision to use his own impeachment to market campaign merchandise is a curious one.

Politicians often capitalize on viral moments or popular phrases to sell campaign merchandise. Democratic presidential candidate and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's campaign is currently selling t-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "Two Cents," a reference to her proposed tax on Americans worth $50 million or more. And Biden's campaign is selling t-shirts with various percussion instruments with the tagline, "Beat him like a drum," a phrase Biden often uses when discussing taking on Trump.

However, the use of scandals that may run afoul of the U.S. Constitution to fund a political campaign could break new ground.

In a letter to his colleagues last month, at the close of weeks of public testimony by government officials — including White House advisers — Schiff wrote that Trump had allegedly "conditioned official acts ... on Ukraine announcing sham, politically-motivated investigations that would help President Trump's 2020 reelection campaign." Such an act would likely be considered illegal.

"Over the course of our inquiry, we have uncovered a months-long effort in which President Trump again sought foreign interference in our elections for his personal and political benefit at the expense of our national interest," Schiff wrote.

He warned that, because Trump had "accepted or enlisted foreign nations to interfere in our upcoming elections" — including stating that he would happily accept dirt on an election opponent if a foreign adversary offered it — moving forward with the impeachment inquiry was "an urgent matter that cannot wait if we are to protect the nation's security and the integrity of our elections."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.