President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign denied Saturday that it is using Chinese manufacturers to produce campaign flags, despite recent viral images that suggest otherwise.
“We have made it clear all along that all of our merchandise is 100% made in the USA,” Michael Glassner, the campaign’s chief operating officer, said in a statement to CNN. “Any vendor who claims to have a relationship with us otherwise is lying or violating our protected trademark rights.”
“This applies to all of the recent fake news about Made in China products for the 2020 campaign,” he said.
Reuters reported this week that Jiahao Flag Co Ltd, a company located in eastern China, has been turning out tens of thousands of red, white and blue “Trump 2020 Keep America Great” banners since March. A company manager told Reuters that she believes the US-China trade war was spurring the larger than normal production numbers in an effort to avoid looming tariff hikes. The manager also said the buyers are located within China and abroad, and she didn’t know whether they were affiliated with Trump’s official campaign or the Republican Party.
The White House did not immediately respond to CNN’s request for comment at the time.
The NPR report came just days before the two countries slapped tariffs on $34 billion of each other’s exports. The Trump administration is also preparing another round of tariffs on Chinese goods worth $200 billion, it announced earlier this month.
Yao Yuanyuan, the manager of Jiahao Flag Co Ltd, told Reuters that she believes her company has been producing so many flags because the tariffs haven’t gone up yet.
“It’s closely related,” she told Reuters. “They are preparing in advance, they are taking advantage of the fact that the tariffs haven’t gone up yet, with lower prices now.”
Yao added that an escalation of the trade spat would affect her price advantage, which in turn could prevent the company from taking more orders. The company also produces American and other national flags and specialty banners, Reuters reported.
“Everyone can have a patriotic heart, but this won’t improve his economy,” Yao said.
CNN’s Sophie Tatum and Sarah Westwood contributed to this report.