President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has made nearly half a million dollars selling red plastic straws emblazoned with his name, his base apparently lapping up the new merch.
Last week, Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale shared the update in a tweet advertising the straws, which went on sale just 10 days ago on July 19.
“Can’t wait to see the pictures of Trump supporters drinking with them,” he wrote.
Almost a half million dollars in straw sales! Wow. Get your recyclable @realDonaldTrump straws today. Can’t wait to see the pictures of Trump supporters drinking with them!#MakingStrawsGreatAgainhttps://t.co/2jJT3e2oJc
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) July 26, 2019
According to a Politico report published Monday, the campaign confirmed that it had raised more than $456,000 from the straws.
The idea, the outlet said, came to Parscale when he was on a flight to Florida sipping ice tea through a paper straw when it tore in two.
Irked by the mishap, Parscale turned it into a political point on Twitter, declaring, “I’m so over paper straws,” which he blamed on “liberal progress.”
“This is exactly what they would do to the economy as well. Squeeze it until it doesn’t work.”
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) July 18, 2019
Still in the air, Parscale sent his staff an email titled “Making straws great again,” proposing they become part of the Trump brand, Politico reported. When Parscale’s plane landed, the straws were already being produced and a marketing campaign had been launched.
Hours later, Republican National Committee spokesperson Elizabeth Harrington tweeted that they were sold out.
Now the straws, which retail at $15 for 10 ― roughly 150 times more expensive than the average straw ― are halfway to becoming a million-dollar idea.
Though Trump’s campaign website claims the straws are reusable and recyclable, they’re meant to represent a defiant stand against environmental initiatives to end the use of straws and other plastics that often end up in the trash after one use. (Many recycling facilities do not accept plastic straws).
In a study published in 2017, the American Association for the Advancement of Science estimated that beaches around the world are polluted by up to 8.3 billion plastic straws. According to the National Park Service, Americans use 500 million of them every day.