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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Trump Is Selling a New Image of Himself as the Hero of Trading Cards That Cost $99 Each

Political opponents of Donald J. Trump have long referred to him as a caricature. The ex-president turned himself into one on Thursday, but he did it for financial gain.

Mr. Trump’s online shop selling $99 digital trading cards of himself as a superhero, an astronaut, an Old West sheriff, and a series of other fantasy avatars was his first major public move since he launched his 2024 presidential campaign last month. A short, to-the-camera film was his main piece of evidence, in which he boasted that his four years as president were “better than Lincoln, better than Washington.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s advisors and fellow conservatives were mystified by the sale of trading cards, which he had marketed as a “big announcement” on his social media website, Truth Social, the day before.

“Whoever instructed Trump to do this should be fired,” tweeted Trump fans and comedians Keith and Kevin Hodge.

Mr. Trump often urges his followers to donate $20, although the price of the digital trading cards is far more than that.

Although Mr. Trump likens the digital cards to baseball cards, they are in fact nonfungible tokens (NFTs) that enable a person to essentially claim ownership of a digital content.

Some of Mr. Trump’s advisors have recognised and raised alarm about the fact that he would personally profit from the digital cards as part of a licencing contract. They are concerned that this may cause people to provide less money to his presidential campaign.

A series of contests for opportunities to play golf at one of Mr. Trump’s estates or meet with him personally are being offered as further incentives to purchase the cards. For those who purchase 45 cards, Trump’s South Florida property is offering complimentary tickets to a gala.

“I’ll also be conducting Zoom conversations, one-on-one meetings, autographing artefacts, and so much more,” Mr. Trump adds in the video.

Former President Obama had accumulated over $100 million in various political accounts before to his declaration of a run for president, but none of that money may be used to fund his campaign.

Simultaneously, Mr. Trump’s team leaked to a supportive Twitter user a video in which the former president pledges to remove internet restrictions if he is elected to office again. Mr. Trump’s overt promotion of the trading cards, however, demonstrated how, over the course of the previous month, his presidential campaign has taken a back seat to his own endeavours.

Republicans and even some Democrats spent a day guessing what Mr. Trump may have said, with many expecting some kind of campaign move or possibly a run for House speaker was in the works. The shock of hearing the final verdict was evident.

Public documents reveal that NFT INT L.L.C., the card retailer, was established in Delaware in the month of February. The business mailing address shown on the trading card website is a PO Box at a UPS location in Park City, Utah.

According to official documents, CIC Digital L.L.C. was created in April 2021 at an address matching the Trump International Golf Club in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the firm’s website states that it utilises Trump’s name, likeness, and image “under paid licence” from the corporation. According to the business’s registration documents, Nick Luna, a former Trump aide, and John Marion, one of Trump’s former attorneys, serve as directors of CIC Ventures LLC, a corporation registered in 2021.

Website card customers will be placed into a contest “for a chance to win 1000’s of fantastic prizes and meet the one and only #45!” According to the site’s fine print, the total worth of all the prizes is $54,695, but a 20-minute meeting with Mr. Trump at Mar-a-Lago is “priceless.” It also implies that the winners of in-person meetings will be responsible for their own transportation to and stay in Mar-a-Lago.

In announcing the trading cards, Mr. Trump said, “America needs a superhero,” and promoted a card depicting him striking a Superman-esque posture and removing his shirt to reveal a suit.

The thought of being cast as Superman has always attracted the ex-president. At his 50th birthday celebration, a Superman-like figure with Mr. Trump’s head connected to the torso was carved out of a cake adorned with a skyline.

Recently, while Mr. Trump was recovering from the coronavirus at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center during the 2020 campaign, he reportedly told aides that he wanted to be brought out of the hospital in a wheelchair while wearing a Superman T-shirt under his white dress shirt with the intention of standing up and ripping the dress shirt open.

His advisors dissuaded him, and his ex-chief of staff, Mark Meadows, lied about Mr. Trump never wanting such a thing in his White House biography.

Chris Matthews
Chris Matthews
I am a Political News Journalist of The National Era
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