An investigation has revealed that possibly not all of Donald Trump’s signature “Make America Great Again” hats are made in the USA. The Associated Press used an outside expert to test fabric samples from five hats that were purchased from the Republican presidential candidate’s website. A microscopic analysis revealed that one of the five hats used a different type of fabric than what the supplier told the AP it used for its hat fabric.
The hats are manufactured by Cali-Fame, a distributor and custom Made-in-the-USA headwear manufacturer based in Los Angeles.
“I pay a good price for that hat,” said Trump when informed of the AP’s findings. “If it’s not made in the USA, we’ll bring a lawsuit.” The Republican front-runner said he and his staff visited the supplier’s factory and viewed paperwork to back up the company’s Made-in-the-USA claims.
The origins of the different fabric are unknown – making it possible that it was also produced domestically. The AP was unable to conclude where it came from.
In speaking with the AP, two Cali-Fame employees said the fabric, bills and stiffeners for the hats were imported. President and Owner Brian Kennedy contradicted his employees’ comments and said that wasn’t true. “I’m not using imported materials,” Kennedy told the AP. “We’re playing by the rules.”
The Trump campaign has paid $1.5 million to Cali-Fame through the end of June. Overall, Trump has spent $6.8 million on promotional products through the end of May, more than four times what Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has spent on promo items.
According to regulations by the Federal Trade Commission, manufacturers and others may only use the “Made-in-USA” label if either all or virtually all of the product has been made in America. “All significant parts, processing and labor that go into the product must be of U.S. origin,” says the FTC. If a product is manufactured in the U.S. with imported materials, the label must recognize the presence of imported components.
The AP's investigation underscores the difficulty of guaranteeing that a product, even with labeling and a paper trail, is made where the manufacturer claims. Advantages will cover the difficulty of verifying Made in USA claims in an upcoming issue of the magazine.