How the Trump campaign is actually trying to profit off the president's delusional Sharpiegate mess

How the Trump campaign is actually trying to profit off the president's delusional Sharpiegate mess
Trump supporters and protesters gather outside a campaign rally (and accompanying anti-Trump protest) for President Trump and US Senate candidate Martha McSally. (Eric Rosenwald /

This week, a new term has entered the political vocabulary in the United States: “Sharpiegate,” which refers to the controversy surrounding the use of a sharpie to promote President Donald Trump’s false claims about the path of Hurricane Dorian.

And Trump’s 2020 campaign is now using the controversy to make money.

Despite all the criticism Trump has been receiving because of the Sharpiegate fiasco — or perhaps because of it — Campaign Manager Brad Parscale is encouraging supporters to buy Trump-branded sharpies, which are selling for $15 on the campaign’s website. Friday on Twitter, Parscale urged supporters to “buy the official Trump marker” because it is “different than every other marker on the market” and “has the special ability to drive @CNN and the rest of the fake news crazy.”

This all began Sunday when Trump warned on Twitter that Alabama was in the path of Hurricane Dorian, which had been pounding the Caribbean and was making its way to the southeastern United States. But the National Weather Service, apparently upon seeing Trump’s tweet, quickly responded that Alabama was not in Dorian’s path and that the storm wouldn’t be going that far west. Other presidents — Barack Obama, for example — would have done the responsible thing and said something along the lines of, “The National Weather Service reports that Alabama is not in danger from Hurricane Dorian. I stand corrected, but Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas still need to take every precaution.”

Instead, Trump refused to admit that he was ever wrong, and he held up a hurricane map this week in the Oval Office in which the projection of Dorian's path was extended with a Sharpie into Alabama — an area that, according to the National Weather Service, wasn’t in the hurricane’s path.

And so, Sharpiegate was born, and Trump has continued to drag the issue on all week.

This isn’t the first time the 2020 Trump campaign has urged supporters to purchase Trump-branded merchandise as a way of expressing their disdain for liberals and progressives. This summer, the Trump campaign’s online store has been selling Trump-themed plastic straws and promoted them as a right-wing alternative to “liberal paper straws” that “don’t work.” And they were selling like hotcakes: Politico reported on July 29 that the straws (which became available on July 19) had already generated “more than $456,000 in sales.”

Friday on Twitter, CNN’s Daniel Dale pointed to Parcale's promotion of the sharpies as proof that “the Trump campaign is now selling dishonesty memorabilia."

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