Following the harrowing riots Wednesday incited by outgoing President Trump’s inflammatory rhetoric, Shopify has pulled his “Make America Great Again” merch from the web.
On Wednesday, hordes of violent protesters breached the U.S. Capitol building during the vote to certify Joe Biden’s electoral victory, trapping members of the House and Senate, staffers and journalists inside for more than five hours. As the nightmarish scene wore on, politicians on both sides of the aisle called upon President Trump to make a statement to diffuse the tension and urge the insurrectionists to fall back. Instead, he fanned the flames, doubling down on false and incendiary claims that November’s election was “stolen” and “fraudulent.”
The display shocked the nation, with many of the president’s most ardent political allies pulling back on their support. The business community has now responded in kind.
On Thursday, e-commerce software platform Shopify, which hosts Trumpstore.com and shop.donaldjtrump.com, pulled the plug on both online shops, which sold Trump-branded merchandise like instantly recognizable MAGA hats and apparel. Site visitors were met with error messages.
A Shopify spokesperson told Sourcing Journal that the president’s actions were in violation of the company’s Acceptable Use Policy, which “prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause.”
“Shopify does not tolerate actions that incite violence,” they wrote. “As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump.” The sites were removed by Shopify’s trust and safety team early Thursday.
Meanwhile, Trump’s online influence is also slipping away with the pullback of social media platforms. Twitter, Trump’s platform of choice, locked his account for 12 hours on Wednesday, removing several tweets that disseminated misinformation about the election.
“These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long,” he wrote in a now-deleted missive. “Go home with love & in peace. Remember this day forever!”
As the chaotic scene unfolded Wednesday afternoon, Facebook also scrubbed Trump’s posts, and subsequently blocked the president’s account access for 24 hours. Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the platform Thursday to double down on the sanctions, blocking Trump’s access to Facebook for the foreseeable future.
“The shocking events of the last 24 hours clearly demonstrate that President Donald Trump intends to use his remaining time in office to undermine the peaceful and lawful transition of power to his elected successor, Joe Biden,” Zuckerberg wrote, explaining that the platform’s decision to remove the president’s statements hinged on a desire to curb any additional potential violence.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” he added. “Therefore, we are extending the block we have placed on his Facebook and Instagram accounts indefinitely and for at least the next two weeks until the peaceful transition of power is complete.”
On Wednesday, retail groups from the American Apparel and Footwear Association to the National Retail Federation decried the acts of violence and sedition taking place at the Capitol, with National Association of Manufacturers president and CEO Jay Timmons urging Vice President Mike Pence to “seriously consider working with the Cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment to preserve democracy.”