Washington souvenir shops are stocking up on Biden-Harris inauguration gifts

After presidential elections every four or eight years, Washington’s gift shops and souvenir stands undergo an overnight transformation. Barack Obama action figures made way for “Make America Great Again” gear in 2016, and now Biden-Harris face masks and T-shirts are pushing MAGA hats to the clearance racks.

“Whenever you have a change in administration, no matter who it is, there are new customers and all new energy,” said Alesia Jones, vice president of the longtime Washington store. “It’s like you flip a switch and have a completely new store.”

Sales are typically steady regardless of who’s in the White House, thanks to a dependable stream of political supporters and tourists who want keepsakes from the nation’s capital. But this year is different.

At White House Gifts, revenue has fallen 80 percent since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March, and tourism — especially lucrative international travel — ground to a halt. Most of the people who wander in are regional, traveling from Maryland or Virginia. The store, which once had 32 workers, now employs seven.

Still, souvenir sellers across the city say they are hopeful that the Biden-Harris win will create enthusiasm for their products. Harris — the country’s first elected female, Black and Asian vice president — holds a special appeal to girls and women that they’re hoping to capitalize on. White House Gifts is already selling girls’ T-shirts that say “Kamala is my VP” and “That little girl was me,” a reference to Harris’s viral exchange with Biden during a Democratic presidential debate last year. Other shop owners say they’re hoping to replicate the kind of success they’ve had with products commemorating former first lady Michelle Obama and late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

After a costly mistake in 2016 — in which owner Jim Warlick bought $100,000 worth of Hillary Clinton T-shirts, mugs and wine glasses before the election — executives this time waited until Sunday, one day after Biden was named the winner of the presidential race, to place their orders. Jones says she’s still parsing speeches and appearances by Biden and Harris to pick up on quotes and ideas for new merchandise.

“Each president has their own theme,” said Jones, who said designers typically start creating products six months before an election. “For Trump, it was ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘Keep America Great’ that kind of took over. This time around, we’re picking up on cues such as Joe Biden’s aviator glasses and, of course, the fact that Kamala Harris is breaking a huge glass ceiling for women.”

The official White House Gift Shop is offering preorders on an official Biden-Harris inauguration coin for $100. Elsewhere on the Internet, businesses are selling Biden-scented candles (“a captivating blend of musk and honey”) for $25, Harris-theme coloring books ($17) and life-size cardboard cutouts of both ($40). For those on the other side of the political spectrum, there are “Impeach Biden” bumper stickers ($5) and bath mats ($20).

The change in administration, shop owners say, often

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Petula Dvorak: Biden-Harris election means Black women are heard

They helped put President-Elect Joe Biden on the road to the White House with 91 percent of their votes going to him and Vice President-Elect Kamala D. Harris, finally putting a woman in power.

And straight up, the honor of first woman elected in the White House should go to a Black woman.

The majority of White women aren’t interested in elevating their own. When Hillary Clinton ran for president in 2016, only 45 percent of White women voted for her, while 98 percent of Black women cast their ballots on the side of making history.

Because let’s be honest, Black women have been shouldering America’s most difficult burdens for centuries.

Even back in 1808, when Thomas Jefferson flounced around acting all noble about passage of the law that prohibited the importation of international enslaved people, he was making life even more hellish for Black women already in America. Without the transatlantic slave trade, the need for Black women to produce the next generation of people enslaved on plantations became even more urgent. And the two plantations that became the nation’s most productive human breeding farms were right here in Maryland and Virginia.

A century later, when suffragists finally secured the women the right to vote in 1920, they left their Black sisters, who fought ahead and alongside them in this battle, in the dust. Black Americans didn’t officially secure the right to vote until 50 years later with the 15th Amendment or truly secure it until the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

The slap in their faces continue to this day, when 55 percent of White women chose to vote for (soon former) President Trump — an increase since 2016 — preferring a misogynist who paid off the porn star he was cavorting with while his third wife was home with their baby, who regularly berates women’s looks, who fends off dozens of sexual assault allegations and talks to us like we’re frightened housewives cowering in gated subdivisions.

Nevertheless, for all four years of the Trump administration, Black women have stood up to Trump, no matter what he threw at them right here in D.C. And it got nasty.

He reserved a special cruelty for the Black women of the White House press corps, calling one “nasty” and a “loser,” telling another she asks “a lot of stupid questions” and urging another to stop being “threatening” when she simply did her job and asked a follow-up question.

But CNN’s Abby Phillip, a native of Bowie, Md., veteran White House reporter April Ryan, a Baltimore native, and PBS NewsHour reporter and Georgetown University graduate Yamiche Alcindor didn’t back down.

Americans were stunned by the toddler-style throw-down of all three White men taking part in the first presidential debate — Trump, Biden and moderator Chris Wallace. But then-Sen. Harris (D-Calif.) refused to allow that nonsense during her vice-presidential debate. She shut down her persistently obstreperous opponent with the stern rebuke: “I’m speaking.”

It was the same implacable way D.C., Mayor Muriel

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#MyNameIs Meme an Inadvertent Gift From GOP Senator to Biden/Harris Campaign

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris are posing for a picture: Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden (L) and running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), have benefitted from recent remarks from a U.S. Senator from Georgia.

© Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden (L) and running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), have benefitted from recent remarks from a U.S. Senator from Georgia.

A Republican senator from Georgia openly mocked the name of Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris over the weekend, and it has come back to favor Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, Harris and other Democrats running for office.

Celebrities and many Democrats have posted their own versions of #MyNameIs, and it became a viral thread this weekend.

First, here’s what happened in Georgia to spark this movement. GOP Sen. David Perdue at a recent rally in his state mocked Harris’ first name. The mockery happened Friday in Macon, Georgia, during President Donald Trump’s rally in the state to charge voters to go and vote red—for both him and Perdue.

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Here’s what Perdue said: “Kamala? Kamala? Kamala-mala-mala? I don’t know. Whatever.”

Perdue’s Democratic opponent, Jon Ossoff, posted the video of Perdue doing this.

“My opponent, GOP Sen. David Perdue of anti-Semitic attack ad infamy, just mocked Sen. Harris’ name as ‘Kamala-mala-mala-whatever’ at a Trump rally,” Ossoff tweeted. “We are so much better than this.”

This came the same day Ossoff also tweeted that he was leading Perdue in recent polls.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Perdue’s mockery led to an additional $2 million in fundraising for Ossoff.

However, the tweet set off a firestorm of retweets from folks of all backgrounds, particularly stating what their name means.

Daniel Dae Kim, who has more than a quarter of a million followers on Twitter, said his name means “respect,” and that he intends to vote for Joe Biden for president now.”

Actress Lea Thompson (of “Back to the Future” fame) said her name is spelled Hawaiian because her father was stationed at Pearl Harbor.

Former Olympic ice skater Michelle Kwan chimed

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