Following the controversy surrounding Nike’s recalled Air Max 1 USA, which was designed for this year’s Independence Day celebrations, President Trump’s son Donald Jr. has waded in with his own hot take on the cancellation.
Trump Jr. shared his thoughts on Twitter, writing, “If the Betsy Ross Flag, the flag of the American Revolution, is too offensive for Nike to commemorate The 4th of July maybe Nike should go with this… seems to be more in line with their views.” The image attached was a mocked-up image of a Nike Roshe emblazoned with a photoshopped Soviet Union-style hammer and sickle, with the Swoosh replacing the sickle.
The hammer and sickle was a worldwide symbol of communism in the 20th century, when the US and its allies waged the Cold War against the Soviet Union and the wider communist world. More recently, President Trump and his son were both implicated in an investigation into potential collusion with the Russian state during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
The red, white, and blue Air Max 1 was set to drop for Independence Day today before the reported intervention of Colin Kaepernick prompted Nike to cancel the release and recall the shoe from retailers. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Kaepernick told the company it shouldn’t sell a shoe that he and others consider offensive due to the 13-star “Betsy Ross flag” detail on the heel.
“Nike has chosen not to release the Air Max 1 quick-strike Fourth of July as it featured an old version of the American flag,” Nike said in a statement to CNBC. The “Betsy Ross flag” was a symbol of the American Revolution, a time when slavery was still legal, and today the flag is sometimes linked to white supremacy.
Despite Nike pulling the sneaker, some pairs did briefly end up on aftermarket sites such as StockX, where they reportedly sold for thousands of dollars. StockX CEO Scott Cutler wrote, “We have decided to remove the Nike Air Max 1 USA from our site today and prohibit any further sales of this item on @StockX as the sale of this product on our platform does not align with our value system.”