Digital Media Creator Sarah Lefton’s “Yo-Semite” t-shirt always gets a sales boost when Yosemite National Park makes the news. Even Apple’s 2014 “Yosemite” system upgrade gave t-shirt orders a bump. Still, nothing could have prepared Lefton for Tuesday morning, when she checked her phone and discovered hundreds of Twitter mentions.
“It took me just a couple of minutes to find the Trump clip,” said Lefton, “and I immediately knew that I was going to sell thousands of t-shirts.”
VIRAL MOMENT: President Trump has trouble pronouncing ‘Yosemite,’ pronouncing it ‘Yo-Semite.’ https://t.co/T0Nwv0prMZ pic.twitter.com/aUmEmm8GlL— The Hill (@thehill) August 4, 2020
On Tuesday morning, President Trump went viral after mispronouncing Yosemite National Park as “Yo-Semite” National Park at the bill-signing ceremony for a bipartisan conservation act. The error was quickly tweeted, parodied, and made into memes, causing sales of “Yo-semite” shirts to spike. They haven’t stopped selling since.
“We’ve sold hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of those shirts over the years,” said Director of Retail at the National Museum of American Jewish History Kristen Kreider, “just not hundreds and hundreds and hundreds in one day.”
When Lefton created the shirt 16 years ago at a Jewish summer camp, she never expected it to become a political statement. But she’s not surprised by how popular the tees have become and remained in the Jewish-American community.
“It’s just all culture and identity,” said Lefton. “It’s a way to embrace your roots that feels really wide and affirming.”