Jack Colwell | South Bend Tribune
Just in time for last-minute Christmas shoppers, Donald Trump, in the first “major announcement” of his new presidential campaign, promoted online sales of trading cards portraying him as a superhero.
But you had to act quickly to buy one or more of the 45,000 cards at the bargain price of $99 each.
Alas, they reportedly sold out in a day.
Oh, there’s still is a chance now to buy a card on a secondary market but at well beyond list price. One featuring Trump holding a torch aloft before the Statue of Liberty, more dominant than her, was listed at $24,000. That’s a little more than normally spent for a stocking stuffer.
Actually, these Trump trading cards couldn’t be stuffed in a stocking hung by the chimney with care in the way that packs of baseball trading cards often were.
These aren’t real cards. They are something called NFTs, non-fungible tokens. Digital. Not cardboard. No bubble gum included.
Late-night comedians ridiculed Trump’s hawking of his superhero poses − as an astronaut, as an Old West sheriff, as a Superman with a “T” rather than an “S” on his chest and 42 other images. They suggested that buying a digital image, not a real card, was like paying for nothing.
Despite the mockery, even from some usually outspoken Trump defenders, his base responded to buy what Trump called “a great Christmas gift.” Those who waited too long may feel as though the Grinch stole their Christmas.
The cards that aren’t really cards have gone way up in value.
Trump began his big announcement by saying he was, “hopefully your favorite president of all time, better than Lincoln, better than Washington.” He’s so modest.
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He showed the glamorous images of himself, slimmed down a bit by 80 pounds or so.
He told of the bargain price.
But wait! There’s more!
“Each card comes with an automatic chance to win amazing prizes like dinner with me,” he told the listeners.
To be eligible for dinner with the Donald, it was necessary to buy 45 NFTs. At $99 each, the cost was $4,455. How many of you would pay that? What would any of you pay not to have to dine with the Donald?
The former president skillfully promoted his unveiling of the trading card deal, announcing in advance that he would be having have a “major announcement.”
Speculation ran wild.
Was he going to announce that he was running for speaker of the House? He once hinted he might do that.
Was he going to reveal his vice-presidential running mate? Nobody guessed that it might again be Mike Pence.
Was he going to suspend his presidential campaign? He wasn’t off to a good start, with polls beginning to show Ron DeSantis favored for the nomination.
Was he going to denounce Time magazine for selecting Volodymyr Zelenskyy as person of the year? Zelenskyy, after all, isn’t getting along with Trump’s friend Vladimir Putin.
The announcement that came was something even more major. Astounding. It captured attention in comic routines of all the late-night TV show hosts. Cable news commentators told of what the former huckster in chief was now offering. Maybe all the attention helped to boost sales.
And boosting sales was important to Trump. Profits are to go to Trump and his partners in the endeavor, not to a campaign fund.
The sale of the trading cards, those non-fungible tokens, has added to the holiday spirit.
It will be a merry Christmas for those in the Trump base who managed to purchase the superhero portrayals of their hero or at least are overjoyed that he is making a profit.
It will be a merry Christmas as well for those experiencing such joy and glee over belief that the pitchman finally has sold a rapidly growing audience that they don’t ever want him back in the White House.
Jack Colwell is a columnist for The Tribune. Write to him in care of The Tribune or by email at [email protected]