CLEVELAND – The “Trump Museum,” just steps from the Republican National Convention, displays artifacts such as the Trump action figure, the Trump board game and sartorial splendor from the Trump clothing line.
So much Trump is on exhibit that at first glance it may appear to be a campaign office for Donald Trump, the Republican presidential nominee. But this is actually enemy territory, funded by a Democratic Super Pac called American Bridge.
The museum is near the security entrance to the sports arena where Trump will formally accept the nomination on Thursday, but hidden on the sixth floor of a disused printing cooperative, in a swanky refurbished apartment. Like a trendy nightclub, visitors need to know it is there.
Inside are displays from a year’s worth of opposition research. American Bridge started looking into the Republican presidential hopefuls long before it was clear who would emerge as the winner.
“One thing we learned about research is that you have to start early,” said Jessica Mackler, president of American Bridge. “We saw in the Republican field that a lack of preparation really hurt them against Trump. We wanted to make sure that didn’t happen in the general election campaign.”
People on American Bridge’s staff of 30 researchers have read the more than 15 books written about Trump plus the 16 by him. Several volumes are on display.
There is also material about the Trump Institute, a seminar business bearing the candidate’s name. Mackler said the Super PAC could reveal more about Trump Institute at a later date.
A Super PAC, or super political action committee, is allowed to raise unlimited money but cannot coordinate with any particular campaign. American Bridge’s backers include billionaire George Soros.
The museum has exhibits such as one called Failed Business Ventures, opposite a wall with photos of memorable moments from the campaign.
The Trump clothes, including a brown pinstripe suit from the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, were all made abroad, a dig at the New York businessman’s rhetoric about the loss of U.S. jobs overseas.
The board game, which looks similar to Monopoly, leads players to make business deals.
The Trump doll speaks, repeating a signature phrase from his reality TV show. Pull the string and it says, “You’re fired!”