Inside The Trump ‘maga’ Hat Factory
We got a chance to go inside the factory where Trump’s iconic “Make America Great Again” hats are made. Also known as “MAGA” hats, the caps have become a symbol of Trump’s campaign, and inspired myriad memes and parodies.
Each MAGA hat purchased through the Trump campaign’s official website counts as a campaign contribution. According to the campaign, hundreds of thousands of the hats have been sold since Trump began his first presidential run.
The hats are produced by a California-based company called Cali-Fame. According to a 2015 Los Angeles Times interview with the company’s president, Brian Kennedy, about 80% of the company’s employees are Latino. When asked to comment for this video, a Trump campaign representative responded:
“As with so many manufacturers in America, Cali-Fame is enjoying the benefits of the Trump economy while also playing a unique and important role in the production of MAGA hats, the iconic symbol of President Trump’s historic campaign and pledge to Make America Great Again. The facility employs dozens of American citizens from diverse backgrounds, all dedicated and committed to their specialty craft producing a growing count of MAGA hats, totaling hundreds of thousands produced to date.”
The campaign did not respond to our question about how much the workers at Cali-Fame were paid.
Following is a transcript of the video.
Cali-Fame employee: Well, more work for us.
Cali-Fame employee: I just try to ignore it.
Posts Target Trump With False Claim On Maga Hats
Social media posts erroneously suggest that President Donald Trumps campaign hats are made in China, while those for former Vice President Joe Bidens campaign are made in the U.S. The official hats sold by both campaigns are made by American companies.
Social media posts are wrongly suggesting that President Donald Trumps campaign has its iconic red hats made in China, while former Vice President Joe Bidens campaign uses a U.S. manufacturer for its hats.
The criticism levied by the posts hits at the core of Trumps message of America First, but its wrong.
The posts in question use comparing a pro-Trump and a pro-Biden hat, and their respective labels.
But while the red Make America Great Again hat pictured in the posts does show a label indicating it was made in China, that doesnt mean it was a hat that came from the campaign, as the various posts either explicitly or implicitly claim.
A Facebook page called Trump Sucksposted the photos on Oct. 19 with the caption: Typical Trump. It was shared nearly 3,000 times from there and later deleted. But we found that the same claim has been repeatedly shared in recent weeks and months and . One posted in August reads: Its classic: Trump campaign hats made in China. Biden campaign hats made in USA.
Between 2019 and 2020 alone, the Trump Make America Great Again Committee reported payments totaling $17 million to Ace Specialties.
But Cahns company has made hats supportive of Trump, too.
Ivanka Trump’s Clothing Line
At last year’s “made in America” event, the White House defended the president’s daughter and senior adviser Ivanka Trump after an investigation by The Washington Post found that her namesake clothing and accessories brand relies exclusively on factories in Bangladesh, Indonesia and China.
“There are certain things we may not have the capacity to do here in terms of having a plant or a factory that can do it. The beautiful thing about a capitalistic society is if there’s enough of a demand for it, it will happen,” then-White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said last July.
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Trumps Bid To Subvert The Election
A monthslong campaign.During his last days in office, President Donald J. Trump and his allies undertook an increasingly urgent effort to undermine the election results. That wide-ranging campaign included perpetuating false and thoroughly debunked claims of election fraud as well as pressing government officials for help.
Baseless claims of voter fraud.Although Mr. Trumps allegations of a stolen election have died in the courts and election officials of both parties from every state have said there is no evidence of fraud, Republicans across the country continued to spread conspiracy theories. Those include 147 House Republicans who voted against certifying the election.
Intervention at the Justice Department.Rebuffed by ranking Republicans and cabinet officials like Attorney General William P. Barr, who stepped down weeks before his tenure was to end, Mr. Trump sought other avenues to peddle his unfounded claims. In a bid to advance his personal agenda, Mr. Trump plotted to oust the acting attorney general and pressed top officials to declare that the election was corrupt. His chief of staff pushed the department to investigate an array of outlandish and unfounded conspiracy theories that held that Mr. Trump had been the victor.
Tweets Say Donald Trump’s ‘make America Great Again’ Hats Are Made In China
Donald Trumps presidential campaign was forced to address a widespread allegation of hypocrisy this week, and it had nothing to do with his former liberal ways or his companys overseas investments.
Much worse. Social media posts claimed his unmistakable, sometimes ironically worn “Make America Great Again” hats are not made in the USA.
Heres an example from , which was picked up by Occupy Democrats on Facebook:
Made in China?! Say it aint so, Donald.
Hold onto your plastic snap enclosure. Its not true.
The hat that launched a barrage of snarky social media posts after its July debut at a Texas campaign event has also launched a host of imitations.
“The image you shared is not an official campaign product,” Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks told PunditFact in an email. “All product for sale on DonaldJTrump.com is made in the USA.”
Hicks confirmed a couple of other facts about the authentic Trump campaign hat, sold for $25-$30 in patriotic and camouflage shades at the campaign store.
The hats are made by Cali Fame of Los Angeles, which makes the Cali Headwear brand. Trumps hat is based on the Patriot 5 model, and no surprise, its been a bestseller this year, though not a bestseller of all time. Cali Headwear co-owner Brian Kennedy told us that hats his company made for Von Dutch and Ed Hardy sold better.
Oh, and they are made in the USA.
“But theres news every day on the hat,” he added.
We rate the claim Pants on Fire!
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Are Maga Hats Made In China
Questions about the Trump campaign’s symbolic red hats started and were debunked in 2015. The claims circulated again last year and have found new traction as the country heads toward Election Day.
In 2016, a closer look at the hats by the Associated Press found that some did not contain the fabric that the manufacturer says is always used.
Brian Kennedy, president of Cali Fame of Los Angeles, the company that makes the official hats, did not explain the discrepancy but said “all or virtually all” of the materials are from the United States.
In 2019, Kennedy told AP that the hats are made entirely in Carson, California.
USA TODAY has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment on the merchandise. But according to the official Trump merchandise website, the campaign’s products are “proudly made in the USA.”
While the “made in China” tags can be found on some Trump merchandise, those items are not official products of the campaign they’re from outside vendors.
A WCIV report of a Trump rally in Charleston, South Carolina, in March illustrated this distinction. Vendors at Trump rallies often sell merchandise, but most of these items are made outside the U.S. in countries like China, Honduras and Haiti.
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Are Trump’s ‘made In Usa’ Hats Really Made In Usa
At least one hat tested did not contain the type of American-made fabric manufacturer insists his factory always uses
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump puts on his hat during a rally, Wednesday, June 1, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif.
WASHINGTON Donald Trumps Make America Great Again hats tout they are Made in USA. Not necessarily always the case, an Associated Press review found.
The iconic, baseball-style hats are indeed stitched together at a small factory in the Los Angeles area. But at least one of the hats in a small sample tested by AP and an outside expert did not contain the specific type of American-made fabric the hats manufacturer insists his factory always uses to make each one.
The true origin of the fabric in that hat remains a mystery whether U.S.- or foreign-made and by whom and a striking example of how difficult and murky it can be to verify something is actually Made in USA. The Republican presidential candidate has made it a cornerstone of his campaign that U.S. companies and individuals should aim for that standard to bring back American jobs, even if it means paying more.
Informed of the APs findings, Trump said any misrepresentation would be unacceptable. I pay a good price for that hat. If its not made in the USA, well bring a lawsuit.
In addition to the fabric analysis, two of the manufacturers employees, including a top sales agent, said the hats fabric, bills and stiffeners were imported.
Heres The Trump Merch That Is Made In America
The Hillary Clinton campaign took aim at Trumps trademark campaign slogan hats in August 2016, but it turns out the hats themselves were at least partially produced here in the states. The hats are hand-stitched in California, reports AP. But a fabric analysis and a conversation with two of the manufacturers employees and a top sales agent determined that the hats fabric, bills and stiffeners were imported.
According to Amazon purchasers, the blanket, which is listed as imported, is made in China.
And then theres this: A trademark application in India, reported by The Washington Post, which speaks volumes, is all-encompassing and daunting.
The trademark appears to show that the following Trump merch items were licensed to be manufactured in India in 2007:
So if youre in the market to buy some Trump products made in the good old U S of A, wed say your best bet is to visit one of his hotels or golf courses and only order bottled water.
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‘make America Great Again’ Hats Could Double In Price After New Us Tariffs: Merchandiser
“Make America Great Again” hats could double in price after new U.S. tariffs.
Trump: ‘I will always put America first’
The latest round of tariffs on products from China proposed by President Donald Trump could double the price of “Make America Great Again” hats inspired by his 2016 campaign slogan, according to a merchandiser who imports them.
The new tariffs announced Thursday would hit $200 billion worth of Chinese imports, especially consumer goods, including the popular hats sported by Trump supporters around the nation, according to a story first reported by the Associated Press.
David Lassoff is the manager of a California-based company that sells a range of novelty items online.
He told ABC News his company, IncredibleGifts, typically imports the red hats from China and embroiders them in the U.S. But now the company may have to complete both tasks in the U.S., which could raise prices significantly.
“We usually sell the MAGA hats for around $9 to $12. But it could go up to $20 if we had to make them in the U.S. and embroider them here,” Lassoff said.
Lassoff said a few Chinese manufacturers recently notified his company that they were “nervous” about the potential impact of these tariffs and, in the future, may charge more money per order.
“There might be a limited quantity in the future. Were trying to make sure we have enough hats in stock now, so if things change, were prepared,” he said.
“Our company is way too small to do anything,” he said.
Some Maga Hats Made In China May Increase In Price Because Of Tariffs
A California-based company that sells “Make America Great Again” hats similar to the official hats sold by the Trump campaign says its prices may rise in response to trade tensions with China prompted by President TrumpDonald Trump Trump urges GOP senators to vote against McConnell debt dealOn The Money Presented by NRHC Senate slowly walks back from debt disasterAdministration confirms it will restore national monuments to pre-Trump boundariesMORE‘s tariffs.
David Lassoff, who runs the company IncredibleGifts, told ABC News that prices of the hat could double from between $9 and $12 to at least $20 if he is forced to abandon his Chinese manufacturers and make the hats in the United States.
The hat, Lassoff said, is his website’s best-selling item. He claims to have sold hundreds of thousands of the hat.
“We usually sell the MAGA hats for around $9 to $12. But it could go up to $20 if we had to make them in the U.S. and embroider them here,” Lassoff said.
“There might be a limited quantity in the future. Were trying to make sure we have enough hats in stock now, so if things change, were prepared,” he added.
Lassoff’s company is not involved with the official Trump campaign “Make America Great Again” hat, which, according to the campaign store’s website, is manufactured entirely in the U.S.
The package’s size is roughly equal to China’s total exports to the United States, according to White House officials.
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Perception Is Reality In Politics
Understanding the power of symbolism in politics is important for any leader. It was why people cared about the hat but not the Clinton campaign badge Muller also brought back from his trip to observe the 2016 US election.
The MAGA hat has become a symbol of violence, division and exclusion. Those were not the values Muller set out in his speech accepting his partys leadership last week:
Fundamentally I dont believe that for each and every one of us to do better, someone else has to be worse off.
Nor were those the values that will re-engage women, ethnic and religious minorities who, according to recent opinion polls, are among those who have shifted their support from the National Party to Labour.
Swinging voters are by definition in the middle. They are not part of Trumps base. But if they are not part of Mullers New Zealand he wont get to form a government after the election in September.
Muller knows who these people are. He wanted to appeal to the people who help their elderly neighbours with the lawns on the weekend, the dad who does the food stall at the annual school fair, the mum who coaches a touch rugby team.
Some of them are the sorts of people MAGA rallies target.