President Trump sported his Trump-branded hats at two highly photographed disaster relief press conferences in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The hats are part of his campaign merchandise and cost $40 each.
What’s more, his staffers even used the photos of him wearing the hats in their official press releases. On Tuesday afternoon, reporters said they photographed the president with one of the hats for the third time in less than a week.
The presser would be more convincing if POTUS weren’t wearing merch touted as the hat “worn by 45thPresident-Elect Donald J. Trump, himself” pic.twitter.com/kbv0KFvaS9
— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) August 29, 2017
Trump decided to sport the hat during a joint press conference with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. During the meeting, Trump refused to congratulate Abbott for his rapid response to the natural disaster. “We will congratulate each other when it’s all finished,” the president told reporters.
The former head of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub Jr. criticized Trump for using a natural disaster to promote his campaign merchandise. Schaub left the OGE after clashing with the Trump administration over the President’s possible conflicts of interest.
Trump’s Move Not ‘Ethical’
The Washington-based Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics also noticed the President’s self-promotion efforts when large parts of Texas are becoming the next Atlantis.
There’s a difference between what is technically legal and what is ethically right,
The government watchdog group said about Trump’s timing.
While Hurricane Harvey is still present on the Gulf Coast, the White House should not use photos of the President in campaign merchandise in its press releases. The group thinks that it is neither the time nor the place for self-promotion.
The President has yet to express his condolences to the victims of the hurricane or provide survivors with basic info on how to access relief services or shelter. Meanwhile, his reelection campaign was busy emailing supporters to donate more money to the campaign to “crush” their goal for this month and make it the most profitable to date.