Walmart ripped T-shirts and onesies with the message ‘Impeach 45’ from its website after the clothes sparked boycott calls from supporters of President Donald Trump.
The retail business confirmed the move in response to a tweet from conservative commentator Ryan Fournier, who called out Walmart in front of its more than 500,000 Twitter followers.
“Walmart why are you selling Impeach 45 baby clothes on your site????? What kind of message are you trying to send?” Fournier tweeted Monday evening.
Fournier’s questions sparked backlash among fellow Trump supporters, who were offended that Walmart was selling such items. As conservative consumers have pledged to stop shopping at the retailer, the hashtag #BoycottWalmart became a trending topic on Tuesday on Twitter. Among them are conservative media figures Diamond and Silk weighed tweeting a GIF that read “Oh hell naw.”
Walmart addressed the controversy in less than 24 hours.
“These items were sold by third-party sellers in our open marketplace and were not offered directly by Walmart,” the retailer said on Twitter. “We are removing these types of items pending review of our market policies.”
The third party in question was Connecticut retailer Old Glory, which addressed the impending firestorm in an interview with Bloomberg.
“We offer over 10,000 politically inspired t-shirts covering all aspects of politics, from liberal to conservative thought,” Old Glory President Glenn Morelli told the outlet. “We are an American company and we are proud to be American. And that’s what we do: we sell T-shirts for a living.
CNN confirms that pro-impeachment apparel was removed from Walmart’s site Wednesday morning – but a wide variety of merchandise that pushes political slogans like “Hillary for President,” “Stop Hillary” and “I’m one of 65 844,610 Americans Against Trump” remains available for purchase.
The Trump t-shirt and its onesie version remain for sale on Amazon, where they can be easily located by searching the keywords “Impeach 45”. The Washington Post reports that the T-shirt is also available from other digital retailers, including Bonanza.
Politically themed clothing has been a source of controversy for Walmart in recent years. After receiving a complaint from the Fraternal Order of Police in 2016, the retailer removed T-shirts and hoodies that said “Bulletproof. Black Lives Matter.”
Another shirt, which suggested journalists should be lynched with the words “Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED” on it, was removed by Walmart at the request of the Radio Television Digital News Association. “A shirt with the same sentiment was spotted at a rally during the presidential campaign,” CBS News reported.
As with this week’s controversy, both of these items were available for purchase on Walmart’s website through third-party vendors.
Companies face tougher scrutiny when they dive into politics, after the 2016 election left an increasingly polarized country in its wake. The Washington Post states:
Tuesday’s call for a boycott of Walmart is the latest example of the pressures businesses can face as the country’s political divide deepens and social media makes it easier to mobilize others around a cause. Last February, some Trump supporters vowed to take their money elsewhere after Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump’s clothing line; other groups sued advertisers Breitbart and Laura Ingraham while United Airlines, Best Western, MetLife and other companies cut ties with the National Rifle Association. The impact of these boycotts is often unclear.
But a tweet from a senior Trump official suggests boycott calls against Walmart may soon be coming to an end. Brad Parscale, the campaign manager for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign, tweeted his support for the retail giant, saying there was “no need to boycott”.
“Walmart assured me that the merchandise would be available ASAP. It was not deliberate,” Parscale wrote on Twitter. “Thank you Walmart for doing the right thing!”