Collage by Hilary Pollack
Over the weekend, VICE News went to Texas to talk to some of the participants in a couple of truck-and-boat parades in support of President Donald Trump. Both the land and water versions involved American flag apparel, 'Thin Blue Line' flags, and a lot of people repeating the president's talking points about the coronavirus pandemic."It's not a deadly disease," one woman, who wore an American flag poncho, a Trump t-shirt, a Trump pin with a drawing of a gun on it, and a Trump 2020 visor, said from her cushioned seat on a pontoon boat. A woman in an American flag hoodie said that she wasn't even concerned that the president was, at that time, hospitalized with coronavirus. "He'll just be fine," she said. "I'm not worried."
It has been less than a week since Trump tested positive for COVID-19, was helicoptered to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, took a couple of photos of himself Sharpie-ing his signature on a blank sheet of paper, took a questionable SUV ride to wave at his supporters, and was returned to the South Lawn for a well-photographed thumbs up. And, in that time, a whole bunch of pandemic-themed Trump merch has been put up for sale online.One of the first sellers to jump on this questionable opportunity was the White House Gift Shop, the shady Lititz, Pennsylvania company that sells a lot of Trump-related shit, but isn't affiliated with the actual White House. The Gift Shop is taking pre-orders for a $100 limited-edition coin that depicts the President's "ascendance over and personal defeat" of coronavirus."President Trump, whether you are in his corner or not, is—a one-of-a-kind, bigger than life, singular energetic force," the product description reads. "President Trump's energy fills not merely a room, not merely a stadium, but fills—more like occupies—a mythological space. President Trump's defeat of COVID is heroic […] Like it or not, President Donald J. Trump is strong to a mythic level." (The final design for the coin will not be revealed until its release, more than a week after election day.)
Other Pro-Trump sellers on eBay and Etsy have also added some pandemic-related items to their online storefronts. Here's just a handful of what's out there:
The Donald Trump Virus Killer canvas photo takes an iconic scene from Rocky IV, replaces Sylvester Stallone's head with Trump's, and swaps Dolph Lundgren's dome for an oversized illustration of a COVID-19 virion. Whoever designed this took the time to write the word "COVID" on the virus's boxing gloves, and to make its trunks look like the Chinese flag, just in case the imagery alone was too subtle for some of the slower members of your Bible study.
The same seller also has a second poster for The Kung Flu Kid, which features Trump and vice president Mike Pence. It looks like a forgotten joke from MAD magazine, which would've been buried somewhere between the "Star Blech" parody and a three-panel comic called "The Lighter Side of Diarrhea."
This "Trump Pissing on Covid" sticker is just that: a cartoon Trump carefully avoiding bright yellow splashback as he urinates on the word COVID-19. Slap this sticker on your back window and let everybody at Arby's know that you're proud of your president's strong pee stream. "I bet our guy's prostate is normal-sized," you'll say to yourself, as you smooth out the bubbles where Cartoon Trump's dick would be.
An "Even Covid Picked Trump Over Biden" coffee mug. Start every day by putting your mouth close to something that reminds you of a contagious respiratory illness.
An "I'd Rather Get COVID-19 than BIDEN-20" t-shirt. It's available in both soft pink and baby blue, so your fit will be on point when your gender reveal accidentally sets your entire subdivision on fire.
A shop that sells "Trump's Life Matters" shirts and a confusingly 'artistic' Amy Coney Barrett shirt that makes her look like something Picasso spat into a handkerchief has added a "Quarantine King" t-shirt that shows Trump in a pair of Biden-esque aviator shades with a bandanna tied around his forehead. Team MAGA never seems to get tired of depicting Trump, a 74-year-old man who thinks that exercise is "misguided" and eats like a food court trash can, as an over-muscled alpha-male who's been soaked in pure testosterone. That explains the bandanna, I guess.
"Get Well Soon Trump" car flags. The President isn't in the school pickup line, Heather. You don't have to do this.This is just a small example of the amount of Trumpanalia that's out there—and there's no way that this will be the end of it, not when the election is less than a month away. There will be new flags, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and photoshopped posters depicting Trump as an aggressively oiled-up superhero, regardless of what happens on November 3. There's probably time for another commemorative coin too.