Condoms, T-shirts a fitting tribute to Trump’s entrepreneurial spirit

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Updated: Jul 19, 2016 16:14 IST
Republican presidential Candidate Donald Trump (AP Photo)

Eric Jeswick has a racy line to go with the condoms he sells in packets with Donald Trump’s name and mugshot. It plays and builds on the word election. But that’s only a gimmick.

In a town celebrating the impending crowning of the Republican party’s presidential nominee, a very, very rich and successful businessman, Jeswick is just an inspired soul.

“Hey, I am just a businessman,” he said, when asked where he sourced the condoms from. “Malaysia, man, they are really cheap there — but does it matter. I am here if it doesn’t work.”

Euclid Avenue, a busy Cleveland thoroughfare, where he hawks his meagre wares from a bag slung around his shoulder, abuts the arena that hosts the Republican Party Convention.

It is such fitting tribute to Trump, the businessman, that it could be easily called the Trump Boulevard, plugging possibly the only gap in his wide-range of self-stamped structural edifices.

Jessi Jworski, a professional nurse by training, is trying her luck in business selling Trump memorabilia on a sidewalk along Euclid, mostly T-shirts and caps (hats, if you insist).

She is actually a Democrat, she says. But she can’t bring herself to vote for Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee who is scheduled to have her own crowning next week.

But Jworski has forged herself a convincingly plausible path to Trump. “I am not voting Republican or Democratic,” she said, adding she is voting for “change”.

The T-shirts Jwaroski is selling are all black and nearly all of them used a phrase from Trump’s popular TV show The Apprentice that he never really got to use, much as he may have wanted to.

“Obama, you are fired,” ran the print, adapting a punchline from the show. Trump had indeed tried to get Obama disqualified from presidency, stoking conspiracies about his birth.

But he didn’t succeed. That never stopped him from trying as it always got him prime time attention on TV, which he may have craved more than the authenticity of facts he was peddling.

Jworski doesn’t care about fact as well, it seems, and even less, it may seem. Her T-shirts firing Obama were all made in the Dominican Republican, and not in the US.

She admitted that was a problem given Trump’s promise to bring manufacturing back to the US, from wherever it had been sent under multilateral trade arrangements, or offshoring.

The presumptive Republican nominee has sought to present himself as an aggressive champion of American jobs for Americans — promising to bring back offshore jobs.

“I ordered them online,” Jworski said. It wasn’t clear where the shipment was coming from, and she found out only much later that they were made in the Dominican Republic.

Ideally, the part-time businesswoman said, she would have preferred them to be made in the US. Trump has said the same about some of the merchandise retailed in his name.

Trump ties are made in China, and Trump picture frames are made in India. And his hats sporting his campaign slogans may not have been made in the US, according to some reports.

A lot of the merchandise on sale in his name on Trump Boulevard are sourced from outside America, but his promise to make them in the US absolves him of complicity.

But in the eyes of a lot of those profiting off him — by selling buttons, T-shirt and hats bearing the Trump name — it’s just business as he would approve, they said they presumed.

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