The White House celebrates US-manufactured products this week, even though Trump’s vodka, menswear and even board games have been made overseas
Vice-President Mike Pence laughs as Donald Trump holds a baseball bat during the ‘Made in America’ product showcase event at the White House. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters
Donald Trump has declared this week “Made in America” week. According to the White House, it’s an opportunity for the president to showcase “products that are made in America”.
Unfortunately for Trump, that description would rule out many of the products he and members of his family have made and sold. From Donald J Trump Collection clothing to Trump Vodka to Trump: the Game, the president has a track record of not making things in America.
The week was scheduled to kick off at the White House on Monday, with Trump walking around some tables looking at products made in all 50 states. So in honour of the president’s communist-dictator-esque photo opportunity, here’s a look at some not-made-in-America Trump gear.
Trump Vodka (“The finish is disappointingly harsh” – InternetWines.com) was an ill-fated attempt by Trump to branch into the spirits world. The vodka (“No discernable flavor” – Chicagoist) was manufactured in the Netherlands by a company called Wanders Distillery and launched in the US in 2006.
But the beverage (“My taste buds unfortunately associate the flavor with the smell of paint” – VodkaBuzz) failed to sell. The trademark was abandoned in 2008, according to Rolling Stone. By 2011, Trump Vodka was “out of circulation”.
Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ hats are actually made in the US – but many of his other clothing brands are not. Photograph: Jae C Hong/AP
“We don’t need Chinese products,” Trump told Fox News in 2010. “The stuff that’s been sent over from China is – it falls apart after a year and a half. It’s crap.”
It was an odd thing to say for a self-described master businessman offering to the American public many menswear products – featured in the Donald J Trump Signature Collection – that were made in China.
To be fair, Trump is an equal opportunity overseas manufacturer. His dress shirts have been manufactured in Bangladesh, Honduras and Vietnam. And China.
It turned out Trump was right about people not needing Chinese products. In 2015, the Donald J Trump Signature Collection was jettisoned by Macy’s. His famous red hats, meanwhile, actually are made in the US. It’s the unofficial ones that aren’t.
Trump University encouraged students to outsource jobs overseas. Photograph: Bebeto Matthews/AP
Trump University (“A fraud from beginning to end” – New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman) was a US business.
But the university, which was not actually an accredited university, encouraged students to outsource jobs overseas.
“We hear terrible things about outsourcing jobs – how sending work outside of our companies is contributing to the demise of American businesses,” Trump wrote on the Trump University blog in 2005. “But in this instance I have to take the unpopular stance that it is not always a terrible thing.”
In November 2016, Trump settled three fraud lawsuits relating to the university for $25m.
“Several Trump Home items are listed as made in China or imported from China,” the Washington Post reported in 2016.
According to the Post, foreign-made items in Trump’s furniture collection include mirrors, ceramic vases, wall decorations, kitchen items and lighting fixtures. They were all made in China. Some Trump Home picture frames were manufactured in India.
Earlier this year, Peter York, who wrote a 2006 book about the homes of autocrats, including Saddam Hussein and Nicolae Ceaușescu, wrote about the similarities between their tastes and Trump’s interior decor preferences.
“The best aesthetic descriptor of Trump’s look, I’d argue, is dictator style,” York said.
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