Trump Red MAGA Hat Like Wearing Confederate Flag: WaPo Fashion Critic Robin Givhan

Washington Post fashion critic Robin Givhan declared war on supporters of President Trump who wear his signature campaign symbol, the red Make America Great Again (MAGA) hat.

Triggered by the phony media driven controversy over drum pounding Native American elder activist Nathan Phillips standing off with MAGA hat wearing high school student Nick Sandmann last Friday, Givhan wrote a screed against Sandmann and Trump supporters, saying among many incendiary comments, “To wear a MAGA hat is to wrap oneself in a Confederate flag.”

Givhans piece, published Thursday, is titled, The MAGA hat is not a statement of policy. It’s an inflammatory declaration of identity.


NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 31: Robin Givhan attends Fashion at FIAF Presents: An Evening With Thom Browne And Robin Givhan at FIAF on March 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)

Givhan has other invective for the MAGA hat and its wearers:

The bright red Make America Great Again baseball cap entered the popular culture as candidate Donald Trump’s political swag. It has transformed into an open wound, a firestorm of hate and a marker of societal atavism.

…The MAGA hat. The acronym reads like a guttural cry. An angry roar. MAA-GAA! It calls out to a time — back in some sepia-tinged period — when America was greater than it is now, which for a lot of Americans means a time when this country still had a lot of work to do before it was even tolerant of — let alone welcoming to — them and their kind…

…There’s nothing banal or benign about the hat, no matter its wearer’s intent. It was weaponized by the punch-throwing Trump rallygoers, the Charlottesville white supremacists, Trump’s nomination of Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, Kanye West and proponents of the wall, the wall, the wall.

The hat has become a symbol of us vs. them, of exclusion and suspicion, of garrulous narcissism, of white male privilege, of violence and hate. For minorities and the disenfranchised, it can spark a kind of gut-level disgust that brings ancestral ghosts to the fore. And here, in 2019, their painful past is present.

The MAGA hat speaks to America’s greatness with lies of omission and contortion. To wear a MAGA hat is to wrap oneself in a Confederate flag. The look may be more modern and the fit more precise, but it’s just as woeful and ugly.

Givhan criticized Nick Sandmann and his fellow students for wearing MAGA hats.

How drastically his appearance changed from the fateful moment on the Mall to his appearance on national television. The world met Sandmann when he was wearing a red MAGA hat and a quilted parka. His mouth was turned up in a thin, wide smile that occasionally expanded into a toothy one. When he appeared on television to defend himself against accusations of racism and disrespect, he wore a heather gray zip-front pullover and a button-down shirt. His short brown hair was shiny. His large eyes rarely blinked. His voice was flat. The MAGA hat was gone.

Journalist Savannah Guthrie asked him whether he thought the public outrage over his behavior might have been different were it not for the hat. “That’s possible,” Sandmann said, which was his most self-aware utterance of the interview.

…The hat is a provocation. Is its corrosiveness too much for high school students to understand? No. They have studied American history. They can sort through complex issues related to the Second Amendment, climate change and abortion to not only have an opinion but also organize to change the opinion of others. They are digital natives who understand the power of images. Armed with so much knowledge, it is, perhaps, a more jolting loss, a graver reality, when youth is wrecked by the acid hatred symbolized by a hat…

End excerpts.

Givhans was quite proud of her work, tweeting it out several times on Thursday.

Givhan’s attack on MAGA hat wearing Trump supporters follows a similar attack by actress and Democratic Party activist Alyssa Milano who compared the red MAGA hat to the white hood of the KKK in the wake of the Nathan Phillips-Nick Sandmann stand off.

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