Restaurant's anti-Trump shirts spark backlash, prompt apology

A Mexican restaurant in Rhode Island is getting backlash for selling T-shirts that advocated impeaching President Trump.

Wendy Carr, owner of Amigos Taqueria y Tequila in Westerly, said the business sold shirts with the logo “86 45” printed on the back to raise money for political candidates. According to The Westerly Sun, which first reported the story, restaurant staff wore the shirts on Election Day this year.

Carr says “86” means to get rid of or replace an order in restaurant lingo, and the “45” refers to Trump, the 45th U.S. president.

However, several people, including Republican state Sen. Elaine Morgan, claim the shirt is advocating for violence against Trump, alleging “86” means to “murder” someone.

"To ‘86’ or ‘Deep 6’ a person means to murder them,” Morgan said in a statement to NBC10. “Calling for the murder of anyone is wrong. Calling for the murder of our president is not only wrong but also treasonous. The right thing to do for any responsible citizen would be to call attention to and try to put a stop to this blatant incitement of violence.”

Carr has denied the use of the phrase number “86” as meaning anything other than replace.

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"I would never advocate for harm of violence in any way,” said Carr to WJAR. “The T-shirt was clearly always had the message of, ‘Impeach the president.’”

Carr said her restaurant has been harassed to the point of them having to disconnect the phone because of the amount of calls it had been receiving from around the country.

Carr said the shirts will not be sold by the restaurant or worn by staff.

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The restaurant’s website has been replaced with an explanation of the shirt, including screenshots from Amazon – which also sells “86 45” t-shirts – which shows “86” means to “throw out, get rid of, nix, or to eject someone.”

On the company’s website, Carr apologized to anyone who believed she was advocating for harm and asked customers to practice respect for those who share different political opinions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.