We went inside the factory where President Donald Trump’s iconic “Make America Great Again,” or MAGA, hats are made. Located just outside Los Angeles, the factory employs around 100 workers, most of whom are Latino.
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Following is a transcript of the video:
Narrator: The Trump campaign’s officially licensed “Make America Great Again,” or MAGA hats, are made here, at the Cali-Fame headwear factory in Carson, California, just outside of Los Angeles.
Brian Kennedy: The fabric, the cord, the plastic strap, the fabric underneath, the sweatband, the whole hat is made here in America.
Narrator: The company doesn’t only make MAGA hats. It specializes in all kinds of headwear, which it manufactures and customizes. But the company has worked with Trump for years. Before the campaign, Cali-Fame made hats for Trump’s golf courses.
Brian Kennedy: We’ve been making golf hats since the ’50s. Cali-Fame Los Angeles was one of the first golf hat manufacturers.
Narrator: The red MAGA hat retails for $25. Every purchase of a MAGA hat, along with any other item for sale on the Trump campaign’s official website, counts as a campaign contribution. Around 100 employees work in the factory, and according to an interview Brian Kennedy did with the Los Angeles Times in 2015, around 80% of the workforce is Latino. And according to the Trump campaign, all employees are verified U.S. citizens. We didn’t speak to any employees during our shoot. But in 2015, MSNBC visited the factory and reporter Jacob Soboroff spoke to some of the workers.
Jacob Soboroff: When you heard that Trump, you’re gonna make the hats for Trump, what was the first thought that went through your mind?
Cali-Fame Employee: Well, more work for us.
Jacob Soboroff: Some of the stuff that he’s said, it’s not been particularly nice to the Latino community. When you guys hear some of that stuff, what do you think?
Cali-Fame Employee: I just try to ignore it.
Narrator: Making the hats requires a 23-step process, much of which is done by hand.
Brian Kennedy: So the way we manufacture the hat, the first process is spreading material. We take it right to the embroidery machine, and then from embroidery we’re taking it right to the sewing operation where we’re creating both the bill and the crown separately, so that eventually we put these two parts together by attaching the sweatband, finishing it with the plastic strap that’s made in the U.S. Then we steam the hat, press the hat, and we also finish the cord and glue that down before we pack the hat.
Narrator: The hats are shipped to the headquarters of Ace Specialties in Lafayette, Louisiana. Ace is the Trump campaign’s official merchandise distributor, and the company fulfills all orders from the Trump campaign’s website. According to the Trump campaign, hundreds of thousands of MAGA hats have been sold since Trump’s campaign began.
Brian Kennedy: We are one of the few American companies left making hats. There is a need, a niche, for that American product, and that’s what we’ve been really striving for the last couple of years. It’s an incredible opportunity to make this hat for the President of the United States. I think that this hat is an icon for what is going on in the country and we’re really happy to make the hat for the president. Hopefully we can keep this going.