Conservative commentator Ann Coulter told CNN’s Don Lemon Monday night that the National September 11 Memorial Hall and Museum should “absolutely” have a gift shop.
“Yes, absolutely. The Holocaust museum has a gift shop. This is a museum,” Coulter said.
Coulter added: “Americans feel massive sympathy and kindness toward the survivors of the people who died. Thus, they have been paid well, but this is a museum. To act like everything has to bend to these survivors of a particular victim in this — this wasn’t a car accident. It was an attack on the country and Americans have very strong feelings about it. I think it is a silly controversy.”
The CNN host brought in two 9/11 family members and an assemblywoman from the New York State Assembly to join the discussion.
“It’s perfectly fine to have a gift shop. They have to raise money to keep the museum open and going. It is not free,” agreed Allison Crowther, whose son died heroically while saving others at the World Trade Center on 9/11.
One 9/11 family member disagreed and called the gift shop “disrespectful.”
“There’s a tomb of the unidentified victims down in the basement of the museum. It’s very disrespectful to have a gift shop near that,” said Rosaleen Tallon, sister of a deceased 9/11 firefighter.
New York Post reports on the various items sold at the gift shop:
“The 9/11 museum’s cavernous boutique offers a vast array of souvenir goods. For example: FDNY, NYPD and Port Authority Police T-shirts ($22) and caps ($19.95); earrings molded from leaves and blossoms of downtown trees ($20 to $68); cop and firefighter charms by Pandora and other jewelers ($65); “United We Stand” blankets. There are bracelets, bowls, buttons, mugs, mousepads, magnets, key chains, flags, pins, stuffed animals, toy firetrucks, cellphone cases, tote bags, books and DVDs. Even FDNY vests for dogs come in all sizes. After paying $24 admission for adults, $18 for seniors and students, and $15 for kids 7 to 17, visitors can shop till they drop.”