Two years after the 2016 US presidential election, and two years before the next one, “Make America Great Again” merchandise remains a big business.
Ace Specialties, the Louisiana company that supplies Donald Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats, has sold the US president’s reelection campaign nearly $1 million in MAGA merchandise so far this year. Quarterly filings submitted by Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) reveal the Trump campaign paid Ace Specialties a total of $902,074—which included shipping costs—in the first nine months of 2018.
Add to that the more than $1.4 million the company has been paid by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, a joint fundraising effort between the Trump campaign and the RNC, plus the nearly $200,000 for “Caps/Delivery Services” paid by the Trump campaign to Cali-Fame, the Los Angeles manufacturer used by Ace Specialties for their MAGA hats, and the more than $500,000 paid to Cali-Fame by the MAGA fundraising committee, and MAGA merchandise purchases by Trump or his proxies have totaled more than $3 million this year through September.
Neither the Trump campaign nor the White House press office responded to requests for a comment on whether the MAGA hats and accessories purchased with donated funds are sold or given away.
When you buy a MAGA hat (or “Build the Wall” t-shirt, or #BigLeague button, or set of Trump-Pence pint glasses), the purchase is legally considered a contribution to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, not a commercial transaction. Contact information for the committee on the DonaldJTrump.com website lists a PO box in care of Ace Specialties, Lafayette, Louisiana.
“The only place online to purchase the Official Make America Great Again classic rope hat as worn by Trump, himself,” the site tells prospective customers.
Owned and operated by 40-year-old Christl Mahfouz, Ace Specialties has provided the Trump campaign’s official merchandise since 2015. Between 2015 and 2017, Trump entities paid Ace more than $21 million. In addition to hats and apparel, Ace’s website currently advertises political consulting services. Mahfouz did not respond to a request for comment.
The official Trump MAGA hat “sells like hotcakes,” Mahfouz said in a recent interview, adding that Ace has sold “thousands” of MAGA mugs “because everyone loves waking up remembering that president Trump is their president.”
Mahfouz maintains an active online presence, and tours the country with Trump on a presidential campaign that seems to never end.
She staunchly defends Trump in public, often utilizing pages from his playbook in online spats. As Mahfouz recently told a Trump detractor who commented on her LinkedIn page, “Unfortunately, you are too wrapped up in your #fakenews agenda to realize the great things actually happening around you.”