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Walmart removes 'Impeach 45' shirts after protests by Trump supporters

The controversy highlights a challenge of doing business in a country increasingly polarized by politics

AFP | PTI  |  New York 

Walmart faces Trump suppoters' ire for 'Impeach 45' shirts, removes gear

removed shirts and other gear from its bearing the phrase "Impeach 45" after supporters of US Donald lambasted the on

nixed the items on Tuesday after images of jerseys and baby gear with the anti-slogan went viral on At midday, the phrase #BoycottWalmart was trending on

"These items were sold by third on our open marketplace, and were not offered directly by Walmart," a said. "We're removing these types of items pending review of our marketplace policies."

The controversy highlights a challenge of doing business in a country increasingly polarised by politics, where supporters and critics of have become more vocal in pressuring companies with boycott threats when they appear to be taking sides.

Other brands that have aroused howls on include athletic clothing and equipment brand Under after its praised Trump, and sporting Dick's Sporting Goods that restricted some gun sales.

Some commentators on criticized for removing the anti-Trump items while continuing to offer a wide variety of "Make America Great Again" gear from Trump's campaign.

Neil Saunders, Retail said Walmart's decision to remove the anti-Trump merchandise made sense given the company's profile. Most do not make a distinction between items sold directly and those offered by third-party vendors.

"A lot of the stores are in locations that are probably fairly Republican," Saunders said. "They do need to take action because it could alienate a large portion of their customer base."

And he said the idea of impeaching the 45th US went a step further than the MAGA gear, which expressed support for Trump and could be offset by on behalf of Democrats.

Walmart in 2017 also removed shirts with the phrase "Rope. Tree. " implying reporters should be lynched, saying the items came from a third-party vendor and violated company policy. And the store in 2015 announced it would no longer sell items promoting the Confederate Flag.

Trump has not shied away from entering the fray, chastising US companies via tweet from transgressions ranging from investing overseas, to moving production to foreign sites, to laying off workers.

But so far Walmart has avoided any presidential ire and Trump said the situation was resolved.

"No need to boycott. @Walmart has assured me that the merchandise will be down as soon as possible," Parscale said on "It was not deliberate.

Thank you @Walmart for doing the right thing!" But the retail power's response to the latest controversy highlights a difference in approach with rival

currently offers dozens of products with "Impeach 45," or similar phrases, such a "86 45" or "Resist 45." Amazon's site also offers a wide assortment of "Make America Great Again" and other pro-Trump gear.

Saunders said the difference in approach underscored the gap between shoppers of the two companies, with consumers tilted somewhat more heavily towards cities and other progressive areas.

However, the Walmart-owned website still sells a variety of items under the more lighthearted "Impeach the Peach" logo that features a likeness of the US on travel kits, guitar picks and other items.

Saunders said the clientele at is probably closer in spirit to Amazon than Walmart.

"Walmart and Jet are very separate brands," he said.

"With there's far less risk because the client base tends to be younger, more urban, probably less concerned about this sort of thing than the typical Walmart customer.

First Published: Wed, July 04 2018. 09:10 IST