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.”
Buy the official Trump marker, which is different than every other marker on the market, because this one has the special ability to drive @CNN and the rest of the fake news crazy! #KeepMarkersGreathttps://t.co/eakgICM0LR
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) September 6, 2019
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.”
I’m so over paper straws. #LiberalProgress
This is exactly what they would do to the economy as well. Squeeze it until it doesn’t work. pic.twitter.com/zKfiZiSHV5
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) July 18, 2019
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.”
In what I think is a first, the Trump campaign is now selling dishonesty memorabilia. https://t.co/g8Mh5x4uZZ
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) September 6, 2019
Trump ignored aides’ advice before first Ukraine call — and it destroyed his impeachment defense: report
President Donald Trump has repeatedly referred to himself as his own top advisor and a political "genius." But his interactions with Ukraine at the heart of the impeachment inquiry could demonstrate the limitations of such an approach to governing.
Friday's bombshell, behind-closed-door testimony from David Holmes has made White House aides unhappy, but the bad news for the administration did not stop there.
‘Aides to the president are not happy’ Gordon Sondland held the phone up in restaurant: CNN’s Jim Acosta
CNN White House correspondent Jim Acosta reported on Friday that White House aides are unhappy with Ambassador Gordon Sondland for holding up a call with Trump in a restaurant for multiple witnesses to listen.
The details were revealed in bombshell closed-door testimony before Congress on Friday.
Acosta noted the administration was trying to downplay the significance of the call.
"But I will tell you, that the aides of the president are not happy that Gordon Sondland apparently held the phone up so other aides could hear what was going on and the words of the source familiar with the conversations inside the White House, the president speaks loudly, Sondland should know that," Acosta reported.
David Holmes’ opening statement to Congress directly implicated Donald Trump: report
Congress will hear first-hand testimony of President Donald Trump's involvement in the Ukraine scandal.
"David Holmes, the state department aide who overheard President Donald Trump's conversation with the US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, said that Sondland told Trump that the Ukranian President would do 'anything you ask him to,' and that he confirmed the Ukrainians were going to 'do the investigation,'" CNN reported Friday.
""Sondland told Trump that (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky 'loves your ass,'" Holmes testified. "I then heard President Trump ask, 'So, he's gonna do the investigation?' Ambassador Sondland replied that 'he's gonna do it,' adding that President Zelensky will do 'anything you ask him to.'"