A few days back Donald Trump declared he’d be making a major announcement on December 15th. Many speculated on what this could be. Was he running for Speaker of the House, or perhaps nominating election denying, ring light abusing Kari Lake as his running mate? Nope. Instead, he pitched the release of his new Trump Trading Cards, selling for the princely sum of $95 each.

These cards are a blatant, cheaply executed cash grab. The artwork is a blend of stock backgrounds and the kind of shoddy photo shop work that you’d expect to find on self-published Kindle erotica covers.

But these collectable gems don’t come shrink wrapped with some dried-out bubble gum. These are NFT’s, meaning Non-fungible tokens. For the uninitiated NFT’s are an offshoot of crypto currency—the rainforest destroying, block chain produced pseudo money that will eventually crash harder than the 17th century Dutch tulip market. A digital NFT is nothing more than an image, identical to the one anyone else can see online, except yours is deemed the original… even though it’s digital and therefore has no original. In short, it’s an online collectable that you store in your digital wallet in hopes of showing them to someone dumb enough to be impressed. Here are some NFT success stories:

The card’s artwork may also be a series of lawsuits waiting to happen. Most of it is plucked from 3D rigged models sold online for game developers, with crudely photoshopped Trump heads plopped onto them. These models run from about $40-$200 a piece. That’s pretty cheap, but if Trump’s history of ignoring intellectual property rights is any indication the files he used were probably pirated.

I’m curious why the Trump Fighter Pilot card has the safety straps cinched to castration level? Ouch!

What makes this truly pathetic is that suitable Trump artwork already existed, and could have easily been licensed from an artist clearly enamoured with Trump. Jon McNaughton made a name for himself painting patriotic images of Trump, one of which is (or was) hanging somewhere in the White House. While I’m not a fan of McNaughton’s uber jingoistic paintings I respect his ability and passion for his subject. If Trump was going to release collectable art cards McNaughton had earned the right to have his work plastered on them. Unfortunately, that would have involved giving the artist a revenue percentage of some kind and Trump would never split the take with some beatnik painter. The slapdash digital stuff he used was likely a “work for hire,” buyout, with an NDA attached for good measure.

Oddly enough these aren’t Trump’s first kick at the trading card can. Conventional trading cards had been sold for his TV series The Apprentice. Topps issued trading cards for the film Home Alone 2, but sadly Donald’s cameo wasn’t included. There were also cards issued by the Liberty Tobacco Company in 2016 featuring Trump’s image—meaning he took big tobacco cash during his campaign. Classy.

Trump made his first trading card appearance as part of 1989’s Rotten to the Core series, featuring New York’s most notably loathsome residents. Trump was #36, with at least one other future MAGA star circling nearby.

If the concept of a former Chief Executive, and current presidential candidate trying to fleece his faithful followers with overpriced images doesn’t bother you… well how about the whole cosplay thing? This just isn’t something sane people do. But the saddest thing of all is that Trump’s card series sold out in one day, proving that even the most obvious rip off has a willing customer waiting in the wings.

If you’re looking for a Christmas Gift that isn’t a cheap, quickly produced cash grab check out my latest novel DOMINANT SPECIES, published by Severed Press. It’s available on Amazon.