Trump uses natural disaster to promote his hats

Questionable timing.

President Donald Trump participates in a briefing on Harvey relief efforts, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Corpus Christi, Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump participates in a briefing on Harvey relief efforts, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Corpus Christi, Texas. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump has repeatedly used Hurricane Harvey to showcase his campaign merchandise.

The president wore his $40 Trump-branded hats available for purchase on his reelection campaign website at two separate, highly photographed Harvey relief meetings. The White House even used photos from the events in their official press releases.

Trump was photographed wearing one of his hats a third time Tuesday afternoon when he arrived in Texas.

Trump wore the hat during a subsequent news conference with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in which he said, “We won’t say ‘congratulations.’ We don’t want to do that. We will congratulate each other when it’s all finished.”

Trump’s hat caught the eye of former director of the Office of Government Ethics, Walter Shaub Jr. Shaub, who resigned in July after butting heads with the administration over Trump’s failure to completely divest from his business empire.

Government watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) also noticed Trump’s self-promotion and questioned the timing of it with Hurricane Harvey still bearing down on the Gulf Coast.

“There’s a difference between what is technically legal and what is ethically right. While there may not be a technical violation here, it is wholly inappropriate for the White House to distribute photo press releases of the president posing in campaign merchandise,” said CREW Communications Director Jordan Libowitz. “This is neither the time, nor the place.”

As of Tuesday afternoon, the president has yet to tweet out any condolences to the victim of Harvey provide them with advice about how to access basic services and shelter. Trump’s reelection campaign, however, sent out emails to his supporters on Monday asking that they donate money to “CRUSH” their August goal and make this month their most profitable.

The fundraising email contains no mention of Harvey whatsoever.

This Trump hat drama comes around the three year anniversary of the conservative media meltdown over former President Obama’s tan suit.