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Trump’s ‘major announcement’ was more cringeworthy than expected

The launch of the “official Donald Trump Digital Trading Card collection” is among the most cringeworthy moments in the Republican's embarrassing career.


Donald Trump raised a few eyebrows yesterday morning with an item published to his social media platform. “AMERICA NEEDS A SUPERHERO!” the former president wrote. “I will be making a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT tomorrow. Thank you!”

Ample speculation soon followed. Maybe the Republican had secured an important endorsement for his 2024 campaign. Maybe he’d say something about his next running mate. Maybe we’d finally see the health care plan he’s spent years promising to unveil.

As it turns out, those were poor guesses. The Daily Beast reported:

Former President Donald Trump’s “MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT” landed on Thursday like the release of a new NFT — that’s because it was the release of a new NFT. After teasing the day before on his social media site that he would have big news, Trump shared on Truth Social that he’d be releasing a set of collectible digital trading cards that all feature himself.

It may seem difficult to believe, but the former president has launched the sale of non-fungible tokens, which he’s calling the “official Donald Trump Digital Trading Card collection.” According to the Republican’s announcement, the images “feature amazing ART” of his “Life & Career,” though that’s not entirely true: Many of the images actually feature his face superimposed onto images of muscle-bound men doing things Trump has never done.

For “only” $99 each, Trump added, you can purchase “all of your favorite Trump Digital Trading Cards, very much like a baseball card, but hopefully much more exciting.”

Indifferent to the fact that his pitch sounded decidedly huckster-like, the former president concluded, “Would make a great Christmas gift. Don’t Wait. They will be gone, I believe, very quickly!

This might sound like a scheme to generate some money for his presidential campaign. It’s not. As the website selling the NFTs makes clear, none of the money will go to his political operation or even the Trump Organization. Rather, this is money Trump will collect himself as part of a private licensing deal he reached with an outside company — along the lines of his Trump Steaks deal.

Incidentally, the company’s website features a two-minute promotional video in which the former president gives the Trump Digital Trading Cards the hard sell. It’s about as ridiculous as it sounds.

There’s no shortage of questions, starting with some obvious ones. Who convinced Trump this would be a good idea? Is he capable of feeling embarrassment? Does he realize that the market for NFTs has fallen sharply? Is he aware of the fact that he’s earned a reputation as a brazen con man, and this only makes him look worse?

But as notable as those lines of inquiry are, I have a different question that isn’t entirely rhetorical: Is Trump still a presidential candidate?

Sure, I saw the former president kick off a 2024 campaign exactly one month ago today, but there are things candidates for the nation’s highest tend to do, and Trump isn’t doing any of them.

Since launching an apparent comeback bid, he hasn’t hosted any public events. He hasn’t visited any states with early nominating contests. He hasn’t sat down for interviews with any major news organizations. As best as anyone can tell, he hasn’t even hired a campaign manager.

That said, Trump has dined with some of the nation’s most notorious antisemitic voices, called for “terminating” constitutional rules in pursuit of bonkers election conspiracy theories, found his prized family business get convicted of several felonies, and as of this afternoon, asked people to buy the “official Donald Trump Digital Trading Card collection.”

The Republican’s career has featured a great many cringeworthy moments. This is among the most humiliating.