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Traveling T-shirt peddler opens stand before president’s Fargo visit

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Michael Goodart of Springfield, Mo., wears one of his best-selling T-shirts at his merchandise stand Friday, June 22, in Fargo. Goodart, who set up shop in anticipation of President Donald Trump's visit next week, has made a business of following the Trump campaign and administration across the country. Erin Bormett / The Forum2 / 4
Politically conservative T-shirts are displayed on top of Michael Goodart's merchandise stand Friday, June 22, in Fargo. Erin Bormett / The Forum3 / 4
Michael Goodart makes a sale at his merchandise stand Friday, June 22, at 32nd Avenue South and 39th Street South in Fargo. Erin Bormett / The Forum4 / 4

FARGO — One of the first signs of President Donald Trump coming to town next week was visible at a busy intersection in south Fargo on Friday, June 22.

Michael Goodart, of Springfield, Mo., arrived in Fargo on Thursday night anticipating Trump's rally Wednesday, June 27, at Scheels Arena — not far from where he set up shop Friday.

On the corner of 39th Street South and 32nd Avenue South, by Love's Travel Stop, Goodart had a display of pro-Trump T-shirts with a variety of slogans.

From "CNN Fake News" and "Trump Pence 2020 Re-Election Team" to "Border Wall Construction Co." and "Help Find a Cure for Liberalism," Goodart's stand was a conservative catchall.

He proudly wore his best-selling tee: "Suck it up buttercup," a saying he tells his four children often and said is a good response to those claiming Trump is "not my president."

"As conservatives, we dealt with Obama for eight years — you can deal with this," he said.

Goodart made the four-hour trip to Fargo from Duluth, Minn., where Trump descended Wednesday, June 20. While the Amsoil Arena there had capacity for about 8,000 people, Goodart estimated there were thousands more outside to see the president — or protest his arrival.

He heard from many people in Duluth who said they couldn't get into the arena and that they, too, would be making the drive to Fargo for a chance to be in the same room as Trump.

Customer Chad Giannini bought a "Make America Great Again" hat and T-shirt to wear at the Fargo rally. He pulled up to Goodart's stand on Friday, quickly jumping out of his concrete mixer truck. Before hopping back in, he said, "Gimme that blue one, too, for the wife."

Another customer, Dana Johnson, was unaware that Trump would be in Fargo on Wednesday, but got gear anyways.

Since Goodart got into event-based T-shirt sales in 2009 when the Tea Party movement started, he said it's afforded him the opportunity to have his own screen-printing shop back home.

Goodart has made a business of following the Trump campaign and administration across the country. In 2015 at one of Trump's first rallies in Iowa, he said Trump stepped out of a black Suburban and bought a few buttons from him.

Asked if there are any copyright issues with selling the merch, he said he knows "Make America Great Again" is trademarked, but for him, it hasn't been an issue.

Kim Hyatt

Kim Hyatt is a reporter with The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead and a 2014 graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth. She started her newspaper career at the Owatonna People’s Press covering arts and education. In 2016, she received Minnesota Newspaper Association's Dave Pyle New Journalist Award and later that year she joined The Forum newsroom.

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