Trump Merch Sellers Prep for Verdict With ‘Free Trump’ Shirts

trump merch sellers prep for verdict with ‘free trump’ shirts

Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

Donald Trump merchandise stores around the country have been selling “Not Guilty” t-shirts bearing the former president’s photo for weeks, manifesting their preferred outcome for his Manhattan criminal trial.

If Trump is found guilty, however, they have a back-up plan.

“We got some new shirts in that say ‘Free Trump,’” said Mike Domanico, the owner of Trump Store PA, adding: “Kind of like that Britney Spears thing going on.”

Domanico, 64, owns one of more than a dozen Trump-themed stores around the country, which hawk everything from “Let’s go Brandon” t-shirts to American flags reading “God, Guns, Trump.”

He says business has been booming since the start of the trial—one of four criminal cases against Trump—with “Trump 2024” election merch being a standout best-seller.

But the outcome of the New York criminal case could call for a pivot.

“If he’s found guilty, the ‘Free Trump’ [shirt] is perfect,” Domanico said. “I got 200 of them right now.”

Whitey Taylor of Boones Mill, Virginia, has one of the biggest Trump stores in the country—a 10,000-square-foot former church that now carries bobbleheads and metallic renderings of the ex-president’s testicles.

The store sells four or five trial-related shirts, Taylor said, including the classic “Not Guilty” and another reading “Never Surrender.” But it also has between 2,000 and 3,000 blank shirts it can iron slogans onto overnight if news breaks.

“We got a guy who’s made up a bunch of [t-shirts], and he can make more,” he said, adding of the looming verdict: “I’m sure it’s going to be a big day.”

Other Trump trinket sellers said they weren’t paying much attention to the historic trial. Lynn Newsome, owner of Trumpville in McBee, South Carolina, told The Daily Beast he gets new items in all the time but that it has “nothing to do with the trial.”

“We’re planning for 47—the 47th president,” he said, adding that his customers were “not very interested” in the courtroom drama.

Asked about how the trial outcome could impact his business, he replied: “It really doesn’t matter.”

“I’ve got like five people in my little store right this minute,” added. “People love Trump, ma’am.”

Keith Lambert, who owns a chain of New England for Trump stores in Massachusetts, agreed.

“I haven’t really been following it, to be honest with you,” he said about the trial. If Trump is found guilty, he added, he plans to “just keep going forward.”

“Whenever shit gets thrown at Trump, sales are good. Whenever Trump does well, sales are good,” he said. “People just wanna support him.”

Recent polling from NPR and PBS NewsHour found the verdict is unlikely to sway voters’ decisions in November, despite Trump facing 34 felony counts of falsifying business records and up to four years in prison for each in just the Manhattan case. Only 16 percent of voters, or about one in six, said a guilty verdict would make them less likely to vote for Trump.

Some of those gathered outside the courthouse to support the former president previously told The Daily Beast they thought the trial was a sham designed to bring down their candidate. The shop owners seemed to agree.

“That certainly isn’t a trial—we got a dictator up there,” Newsome said, referring to the judge presiding over the trial, Juan Merchan.

Taylor, meanwhile, said he wouldn’t change his sales strategy based on the judgment of the jury.

“We’ll still sell the not guilty [tshirt],” he said. “It’s all BS anyway.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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