Conservative gift retailer Keep and Bear will soon begin shipping a “build the wall” toy which resembles a LEGO product and extols the virtues of President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall along the United States’ southern border with Mexico.
The Keep and Bear website markets the building blocks toy as “a great Christmas gift for your kids and grandkids,” and says the 101-piece toy allows children age “5+” to build a miniature border wall. However, an executive for the website’s parent company says the toy is primarily intended as a novelty item for adults.
“This gift was meant to bring some lighthearted comic relief to the intense political debate,” Brandon Vallorani told USA TODAY in an emailed statement.
“The majority of our customers are over the age of 40, not children,” reads Vallorani’s statement.
Vallorani is the CEO of Romulus Marketing, the parent organization of Keepandbear.com.
Online marketing material says the product is currently available for preorder and will begin shipping on Nov. 23. It’s one of several similar products in a “MAGA toys” collection.
The product’s description includes charged political commentary:
“A mob of 10,000 Central American migrants is marching through Mexico and heading toward El Paso, Texas. Mexican border agents attempted to stop them at the Mexican border, but to no avail,” the promotional material reads.
“The wall must be built,” it continues. “The wall will keep America safe and strong. Only then will we be able to help those in need.”
The item includes a figurine of Trump wearing a “Make America Great Again” hard hat. Its packaging shows a cartoon figure behind the wall wearing a sombrero and holding maracas.
New #MAGA building blocks (which look a lot like Legos) urge kids to ‘Build the Wall’. And as racist as this is to some--please know there are plenty of parents in America who will see this and buy it for their kid. https://t.co/xwtxXOd4qP— Jasmyne Cannick (@Jasmyne) November 14, 2018
In a “Fox and Friends” segment Wednesday, anchors mused that the toy might be intended for both children and Trump voters, according to a clip posted by Mediaite.
Critics of the toy have taken to social media to vent frustration about the item, some worrying that the product would promote “racist” views to children.
Vallorani responded to critics of the toy’s message, saying his grandparents were immigrants. He said those coming to America should follow the country’s immigration laws: “We believe America is made stronger when people from different backgrounds come together as legal citizens to build our great nation.”
At least one expert is doubtful the product would influence children. CNN quotes Richard Gottlieb, CEO and founder of Global Toy Experts, as saying the toy is unlikely to persuade children of a political opinion, partly because the product’s simplistic design is “the most boring play concept in the history of the world.”
Vallorani acknowledged that the product resembles LEGOs, but said that the product is clearly distinguishable from LEGO toys.
A LEGO representative did not immediately return a request for comment.
Read more at usatoday.com.