Merchandise in support of outgoing President Donald Trump is going to be harder to come by.
Shopify, the e-commerce platform used by thousands of brands and companies to sell goods online, has deactivated at least two e-commerce sites offering merchandise in support of Trump, a day after he publicly egged on and supported thousands of his supporters breaking into the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
Over Trump’s false and unfounded claims that his November loss to incoming President Joe Biden was the result of election “fraud,” his supporters descended Wednesday on D.C. with the intent of disrupting the certification of the Electoral College vote, which formally certifies Biden’s presidential win. When the formal count was under way, Trump supporters broke down windows and doors to locked and barricaded Capitol Building, then spent hours inside, waving pro-Trump and Confederate flags, vandalizing offices and looting. Reportedly, the day resulted in only 15 arrests, two of whom were video journalists, but also four deaths. As of Thursday, D.C. police said there had been 68 arrests. By comparison, an August tally by the Associated Press of arrests made during the Black Lives Matter Protests found at least 10,000 people had been arrested in the span of ten days.
The deactivated Shopify sites include Trumpstore.com, directly operated by the Trump Organization, and his official campaign merchandise site, Shopdonaldjtrump.com. Other sites associated with Trump or selling supportive merchandise seem to be closed as well, but Shopify would not provide the exact number of stores closed down.
“Shopify does not tolerate actions that incite violence,” a company representative said. Recent events were determined to violate its “acceptable use policy.”
“As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump,” the representative added.
Under normal circumstances, this would likely prompt a swift and angry response from Trump on his social media channels, but as of last night, he is blocked from Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat.
Twitter was the first platform to take action against the president, who spent Wednesday tweeting what were widely seen as supportive and inciting statements aimed at his supporters. The platform removed a video in which Trump praised the supporters who broke into the Capitol Building by force, leading to a lockdown of the building and the city of D.C., Senators and House members and their staffs into hiding inside the building, and eventual evacuation. Then it suspended him for 12 hours from the platform and threatened him with permanent suspension should he violate its rules again.
Facebook followed suit, removing the video, then issuing a 24-hour lock of his account. But today, the platform on Thursday morning took the further step of extending its ban to at least two weeks, the last two weeks of Trump’s presidency.
“We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Facebook founder and chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a statement he posted to the platform.
He added that the ban could go on indefinitely. As for why Facebook has allowed Trump to use the platform for years, with few consequences despite several incendiary posts and videos, Zuckerberg said “we believe that the public has a right to the broadest possible access to political speech, even controversial speech.”
“But the current context is now fundamentally different, involving use of our platform to incite violent insurrection against a democratically elected government,” he said.