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The rest of 2019 is going to be so confusing

Photograph by Evy Mages.

“Spill the tea, Michael C,” the e-retailer Made Au Gold writes in a recent Instagram post. “You get us 😏 ☕️ 🍿.” The product in question? A pink mug with a quote from Cohen’s recent testimony before Congress: “I acted loyal to a man when I should not have.” Comments on the post were mostly some variant of “MOOD,” “THIS MUG,” or “I NEED THIS.” The cost of Cohen’s truth tea? Only $15.

Indeed, there may be no clearer sign of the wild ride ahead in the remaining ten months of 2019 that Donald Trump’s former fixer, a man who says he “probably” threatened people more than 500 times on his ex-boss’s behalf, has become the subject of kitschy progressive merchandise.

So now, for nearly $20, you can purchase a “Cohen Told the Truth” T-shirt from Red Bubble. In the market for Cohen’s face in the style of Shepard Fairey’s Obama poster? You’re covered. A shirt featuring quotes from Cohen’s testimony—”he is a racist, he is a con-man, he is a cheat” is just $15 on Etsy. There’s even a shirt slamming US Representative Matt Gaetz for tweeting at Cohen, which many saw as an attempt to intimidate him. Search for Cohen’s name on Amazon and you’ll find a shirt that says “Impeach me Daddy.”

Not everyone is on board with promoting Cohen as an ally. “No one in our community thinks Michael Cohen is a hero,” says Rebecca Funk, CEO and founder of the Washington-based brick-and-mortar resistance retailer The Outrage. “Frederick Douglass he is not.”

Funk believes most retailers selling Cohen swag are just trying to cash in. “You can make a quick buck with zippy phrases, but we [at the Outrage] try to keep focus on our mission,” Funk says. For instance, honoring “real heroes” like Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her upcoming birthday. “There’s not a lot of room for Michael Cohen at The Outrage.”

But elsewhere, Cohen’s flip-flop on his previous employer is a sign of more than us-vs.-them politics: It’s a way to document the chaos all around us. “I chose to use a Michael Cohen quote on a mug to show the crazy times that we live in,” says Lea Ridenour, who owns the Cohen-mug-maker Made Au Gold. “It is a snapshot into a time where a sitting president has his attorney writing checks to a porn star. As the hole gets deeper, I will be reminding the public in our own creative way.”

Staff Writer

Brittany Shepherd covers the societal and cultural scene in political Washington. Before joining Washingtonian as a staff writer in 2018, Brittany was a White House Correspondent for Independent Journal Review. While she has lived in DC for a number of years now, she still yearns for the fresh Long Island bagels of home. Find her on Twitter, often prattling on about Frasier.