- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 20, 2016

CLEVELAND | One of the best-sellers at Johnny Moore’s souvenir stand outside the Republican National Convention features an American flag logo that, oddly enough, isn’t even being used by Donald Trump’s campaign anymore.

“They say it’s gonna be a collector’s item, because it’s wrong,” the vendor from St. Louis said, pointing to Mr. Trump’s “T” intersecting a “P” for his running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence. “Well, it ain’t wrong — but they changed it.”

The logo was roundly mocked as awkward at best or sexually suggestive at worst, yet Trump supporters are still snatching up street garb that would be hard to explain to their pastors back home.

Many of the shirts and buttons on sale in Cleveland this week trade in profanity and misogyny, namely derogatory slurs against presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

Several vendors on the main drag outside the Quicken Loans Arena said their best-seller is a T-shirt depicting Mrs. Clinton, the first female presidential nominee from a major party, falling off the back of a motorcycle driven by Mr. Trump.

“They laugh at that one,” Mr. Moore said.


SEE ALSO: Trump speechwriter takes blame for cribbing Obama remarks


In some ways, merchandise at the 2016 edition of the Republican National Convention reflects the state of a divided GOP in a raucous and unpredictable election year.

Inside the glitzy arena, where staid GOP figures like House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have taken the stage, souvenir stalls sell plain red or gray T-shirts that don’t quite match the fevered pitch of Mr. Trump’s raucous rallies.

They do, however, make a good match for Mr. Trump’s “Make American Great Again” hats, which are a big hit in Cleveland.

On a narrow street leading to the arena, convention-goer Allan Reich haggled for a deal on the caps, which were selling for $20 each.

“How much if I buy five?” he asked.

The seller’s response: “I’ll do five for $80.”

They had a deal and soon Mr. Reich, 68, was walking away with five bright red caps.

“I’m going to give them to my friends who are probably voting for Hillary,” he told The Washington Times. “They hate Trump.”

Damien Cook, a 37-year-old who was manning the Official GOP Store inside the arena, said the delegates’ feelings about Mr. Trump were evident in their purchases.

“The people who don’t like Trump go with the RNC T-shirts,” he said.

Street vendors outside also said “RNC” mementos sold fairly well, though shirts saying “Bomb the S– out of ISIS” were also a favorite.

Hawkers said they didn’t mind the occasional pushback from Clinton supporters or others who pass by. To them, it’s just business.

“I’m actually Canadian, so I can’t vote,” said Disha Williams, a Toronto native who now lives in South Carolina.

Ms. Williams is a relative newcomer to political merchandise circuit and has stuck to Trump rallies this year, though her husband has been in the business for a while, giving her some perspective.

Beyond Mr. Trump, President Obama’s supporters were “amazing” in 2008 and 2012. Mrs. Clinton’s supporters are ho-hum, although her vanquished primary foe, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, really brought in the money.

“Bernie’s supporters are the best,” she said. “I hate that he’s not in the race.”

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