Trump supporters call to #boycottWalmart over 'Impeach 45' shirt

US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Salute to Service dinner at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, on July 3, 2018.
US President Donald Trump delivers remarks at a Salute to Service dinner at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, on July 3, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (WASHINGTON POST) - Walmart became the target of Donald Trump supporters outraged by a T-shirt sold on the company's website, leading to calls for a boycott on Tuesday (July 3).

The shirt, which was available in adult sizes and in baby onesies, bore the words "Impeach 45", in reference to Trump, the 45th president of the United States.

It is unclear how long the shirts were available on Walmart's website, but Ryan Fournier, a political commentator and chairman of Students for Trump, was among the first to ignite the social media frenzy on Monday night after he discovered the listing, tweeting "what kind of message are you trying to send?"

The shirt was not sold directly by Walmart but through its open marketplace by a third-party seller, Walmart said in a tweet to Fournier on Tuesday afternoon. "We're removing these types of items pending review of our marketplace policies," Walmart said.

The vendor, Connecticut-based Old Glory Music & Entertainment defended its shirts.

"We carry over 10,000 politically inspired T-shirts dealing with all aspects of politics, from liberal to conservative thought," Glenn Morelli, president of Old Glory, told Bloomberg News.

"We are an American company and we are proud to be American, and this is what we do: We sell T-shirts for a living."

Walmart's marketplace, which was created to compete with a similar program by Amazon, now has about 18,000 sellers and the retail giant receives a percentage of each sale, according to Bloomberg News.

By Tuesday afternoon Walmart had removed the listing from its website, though they are still available through other online retailers such as Amazon and Bonanza.

For much of the day the hashtag #boycottWalmart trended in the United States, catching the attention of Trump supporters including Lynette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, who are better known as Diamond and Silk.

Tuesday's call for a Walmart boycott is the latest example of the pressures businesses can face as the nation's political divide deepens and social media has made it easier to marshal others on a cause.

Last February, some Trump supporters vowed to take their money elsewhere after Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump's clothing line; other groups have gone after Breitbart and Laura Ingraham's advertisers while United Airlines, Best Western, MetLife and other companies cut ties with the National Rifle Association. The impact of these boycotts are often unclear.

Walmart and Old Glory did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

This isn't the first time Walmart has attracted criticism for shirts sold through its marketplace.

In 2016, the corporation removed another Old Glory shirt that had "'Bulletproof' Black Lives Matter" printed across the front after police departments disapproved, CNN reported.

Then, six months ago, the corporation pulled another T-Shirt from its site, following outrage from a journalist advocacy group, according to Bloomberg. The Teespring shirt read: "Rope. Tree. Journalist. SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED."

Some people responded to the backlash by drawing comparisons to the recent Supreme Court decision in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, which held that a business owner can refuse to bake a cake for a same-sex couple wedding. Others noted that Walmart's marketplace sellers also sold pro-Trump apparel.

President Trump's campaign manager, Brad Parscale, tweeted Tuesday that Walmart was removing the T-shirt and a boycott was not necessary. "It was not deliberate. Thank you @Walmart for doing the right thing!"