Americans tuning into Fox & Friends Monday morning may have borne witness to a commercial for a product called the “Trumpy Bear,” a stuffed bear with a white collar, white cuffs, red tie and Trump’s “trademark” coif. You can also pull an American flag out of the bear’s ass.
“God bless America, and God bless Trumpy Bear,” declares an elderly woman holding the bear in front of an inflatable American flag. The setting is appropriate. Trumpy Bear was “born” on Flag Day.
I can't believe this commercial that just ran on Fox News is for real pic.twitter.com/gGInt8BKhp
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 12, 2018
Trumpy Bear is loved by all. Michael Ruffino, a former Marine, is proud to carry Trumpy Bear on the handlebars of his motorcycle. Golfers save it a seat in their carts. “Even the toughest guys will love Trumpy Bear,” the comically baritone voice narrating the commercial assures skeptical viewers. Trumpy Bear even comes with a certificate of authenticity that “confirms you own an original Trumpy Bear” and not a cheap imitation. It can be had for only two payments of $19.95, plus shipping and handling. Groceries can wait, patriots.
Trumpy Bear has been around since 2017, and the commercial that aired Monday morning on Fox News — which clarified in a statement that the ad was local and that the network does not do business with Trumpy Bear’s manufacturer nationally — is a shortened version of the original. In addition to veterans and golfers, the extended cut also features testimonials from law enforcement officers, firefighters, small business owners and others. “American industry once ruled the world, and now we’re back on track again,” says a construction worker. “Thanks, Trumpy Bear.”
the best part of the trumpy bear commercial by a country mile is the biker riding with his bear. pic.twitter.com/Adq94brpQL
— Turkey Serota (@maggieserota) November 12, 2018
It’s difficult to tell whether the over-the-top Trumpy Bear commercials are intentionally ludicrous, sincere appeals to Trump’s base or both. Rolling Stone emailed the manufacturer in search of sales numbers, but has yet to hear back. The 22-inch-tall bear has been spotted at at least one of the president’s rallies, though, which means someone has to be buying it.
This shouldn’t be surprising. No president has enjoyed such a devoted fanbase as Trump, and, as a result, his presidency has been commodified to no end, often by companies like Trumpy Bear producer Exceptional Products, and often by the president himself. When Vice President Mike Pence outlined the administration’s plans for a Space Force in August, the Trump campaign released potential logo designs hours later. One was the NASA logo, but different colors. Another promised that “Mars Awaits,” even though the Space Force would play no role in a potential mission to the Red Planet. The campaign’s online gift shop is currently selling Space Force T-shirts for $30, alongside Trump football jerseys, novelty coffee mugs, dog leashes, megaphones and more.
The front page of the campaign gift shop asks visitors if they’re looking for a gift, and it’s indeed the impending holiday season that has brought Trumpy Bear back into Fox News’ commercial rotation. But to the #MAGA contingent, the holiday season is not just the holiday season; it’s yet another frontier of the War on Christmas, and the president’s supporters need to show on which side their allegiance lies. What better way let friends and relatives know than a tree ornament bearing the president’s orange face. No occasion too sacred to be enhanced by the president’s likeness. Consider this ornament Rolling Stone Politics Editor John Hendrickson spotted at a gift shop in Washington, D.C.’s Union Station last month:
— John Hendrickson (@JohnGHendy) October 18, 2018
The Trump campaign’s online store and that of the White House are chocked full of official “45” memorabilia, but there’s also plenty of kitsch out there from third-party dealers like Exceptional Products, which calls on its website for people with hot new ideas to send them to NewIdeas@sellontv.com for consideration. Having no direct affiliation to the president, we’re going to go ahead and assume that while watching Fox & Friends Monday morning, Trump saw the ad for the Trumpy Bear, turned his head to someone who wasn’t there and groused about how he should be getting paid for its sales. No president has been treated so unfairly.
This post has been updated.