New National leader Todd Muller doubles down over MAGA cap in office display

He’s made his dedication to small businesses known, but it’s his dedication to a hat that’s got new National party leader Todd Muller in hot water during his first few days in the position.

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Todd Muller has hit the ground running after taking over from Simon Bridges. Source: 1 NEWS

There’s been backlash online since a 1 NEWS interview yesterday in which Mr Muller said a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap would be being displayed in the Opposition leader’s office.

A spokesperson from Mr Muller’s office told 1 NEWS “his thinking hasn’t changed since he spoke to you yesterday.”

In a statement to 1 NEWS, Mr Muller said he hasn’t put any more thought into where he’ll put his memorabilia.

“I haven’t spared another thought about where I’ll put my caps, Michelle Obama banners, Hillary Clinton badges, or any other memorabilia from my overseas trips,” he said.

In an interview with 1 NEWS yesterday Todd Muller addressed criticism over a ‘Make America Great Again’ cap which had been photographed in his office as part of a 2019 article on The Spinoff.

Mr Muller said he had visited America during the 2016 presidential election campaign and had gone to both the Democrat and the Republican conventions.

“When I went to America to see the two conventions I got a Make America Great cap and I got two Hillary Clinton pins, because I couldn’t see a Hillary cap. So I’ve got two pins promoting Hillary and the Make America Great cap but of course everyone only sees the red cap, they don’t see the Hillary pins.”

He said both the Clinton pins and the MAGA cap will be on display in the leader of the opposition’s office as well.

“You’ll be able to come and have a look to test that that is the case”, he said.

Academics have argued that the MAGA cap has come to symbolize racism in the US, and some have compared it to the white hood of the KKK or the Confederate flag in terms of its symbolic power.

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National’s new leader sat down for a chat with 1 NEWS reporter Sam Kelway. Source: 1 NEWS

When asked about the symbolism of the cap, Mr Muller said the hat is part of a memorabilia collection.

“I went to a convention, I went to both of them and I took back mementos from an extraordinary experience, listening to the voices, faces, beliefs and values of all America, and I brought that back and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

“It sits it in the corner along with all sorts of other memorabilia like when I went to Iraq to see our phenomenal forces over there.

"Wherever I’ve had the great privilege of travelling in this role I’ll always bring something back, little things for the kids, something for me and that was just part of it. I think when people see the context of my memorabilia online they’ll be pretty relaxed.”

Mr Muller says he’s passionate about American politics.

“I love American politics, in fact when I was a little boy I wanted to be the US president. I’ve got a different ambition now in three months time.”