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This Week in Schadenfreude: NFT, WTF?

Although we've been doing this feature for the better part of a year, Donald Trump has rarely been featured. In part, that's because he does so much stuff that might be targeted, and we don't want to focus too much on any one person. And in part it's because we try not to write about him except when it is actually newsworthy.

This week, though, he's going to get the treatment because there's just too much... juice in this story. Roughly 10 days ago, the former president began to tease a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT that he said was coming on Thursday. Now, whenever he says something like that, particularly in ALL CAPS, one should be very cautious. He is Donald Trump, after all. That said, since announcing his candidacy for president, he's done literally nothing that a candidate for office usually does. No speeches. No rallies. No policy statements. He hasn't even hired a campaign manager, much less other staffers. So, the Trump faithful thought that he might be planning to unveil something of substance.

He wasn't, as you've probably guessed. No, the MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT was that Trump is unveiling his own line of NFT trading cards. They feature a blend of "action" and "fantasy" poses. Here are some examples:

Three cards; the first has Trump golfing,
the second shows him as a hunter in camouflage and the third has him removing his suit to show a Superman-style costume underneath
along with lasers emanating from Trump's eyes

Hold on. Didn't we see those the last time we visited the Louvre? No, wait, that was the Venus de Milo. Sorry, small hands, no hands... we get confused.

The images are absolutely ridiculous, of course. And to sell them as NFTs, when you already have a reputation as a grifter? At a time when the NFT market, and the very much related crypto market, are in freefall? Wow. Trump was skewered on social media and on late-night talk shows in a way we haven't seen in at least a year or two. Jimmy Kimmel, for example, observed that "It's literally Cards Against Humanity," making reference to the popular game. "You know your campaign isn't going well when your re-election strategy is, 'Maybe people will like me as a Pokemon,'" joked Jimmy Fallon. Stephen Colbert went in a similar direction, but used "Grope-e-mon." Seth Meyers said: "Also, got to love the timing of a former president launching his NFT line the same week a crypto scammer gets arrested. 'They got S.B.F.? Looks like there's an opening available, then!'

Quite a few Democrats also jumped in, among them the leader of the Party:

I had some MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENTS the last couple of weeks, too…

️️ Inflation’s easing
️️ I just signed the Respect for Marriage Act
️️ We brought Brittney Griner home
️️ Gas prices are lower than a year ago
️️ 10,000 new high-paying jobs in Arizona

— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) December 15, 2022

Joe Biden doesn't usually indulge in this sort of thing. Maybe he relaxed his usual rules as an early Christmas present to himself.

More significantly for Trump, a lot of people on Team Donald reacted with dismay and/or anger. Steve Bannon, for example, said:

I can't do this anymore. He's one of the greatest presidents in history, but I gotta tell you: whoever—what business partner and anybody on the comms team and anybody at Mar-a-Lago—and I love the folks down there—but we're at war. They oughta be fired today.

The Blaze host Chad Prather wrote: "We have a nation going down the toilet, and Donald Trump is selling Pokémon cards. No thanks." The on-air staffers at Newsmax, which interrupted its daily programming to cover the announcement, were... nonplussed, to say the least. You can watch the 80 seconds they ultimately gave to the story here:

One Trump supporter tweeted "I Can't Believe I'm Going to Jail for an NFT Salesman." Another added: "Which $99 Donald Trump Limited Edition Digital Trading Card NFT are you? I'm Overly Photoshopped Dinner Guest." We could easily continue this with another 100 tweets.

As you can see, the price for the cards was $99 a pop. And all 45,000 of them have reportedly sold out, meaning that Trump collected about $4.5 million in one day (which goes into his pocket; this was not a campaign fundraiser). So maybe it was worth it for him. Or, maybe not. Trump insiders are concerned that stunts like this will reduce donations to his campaign. Further, the next time he has a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT, it will get considerably less attention, probably even from Newsmax. As to the schadenfreude angle, CNN and CBS contributor Ron Filipkowski put it this way:

All I can say is that those of us who have lost friends, fought with relatives, resigned positions, been called traitor, left our party, all because we saw very clearly what a con-man, huckster and fraud this man is, have never felt more vindicated.

Undoubtedly, many of the readers who sent this item in will feel the same. (Z)

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