I don’t mean to be rude, but President Donald Trump’s “major announcement” — that wound up being about semi-exclusive “non-fungible tokens” made in his likeness costing $99 a pop — was pretty much the worst announcement of all time.
Here’s his promotional video for those who haven’t seen it:
Donald Trump announced his new NFT collection with a commercial.
Here it is: pic.twitter.com/yBLpn1Zb0f
— unusual_whales (@unusual_whales) December 15, 2022
What’s next? A line of pet rocks?
That’s essentially what NFTs are, actually.
NFTs are “cryptographic assets on a blockchain with unique identification codes and metadata that distinguish them from each other.” So, basically, they’re crypto artworks paid for by crypto tokens, which, if you’re to believe JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon, aren’t worth much at all.
“I think crypto is a complete sideshow,” Dimon said recently. “Crypto tokens are like pet rocks.”
Now, you can own a Trump NFT, but it doesn’t seem like it will help his 2024 campaign.
According to the website they’re being sold on, this is “not political.”
“Is any of the money from this collection going to the Donald J. Trump campaign for President?”
“NO,” the answer reads in all caps. “These Digital Trading Cards are not political and have nothing to do with any political campaign.”
So, you can’t even chalk this up to a cheesy campaign bit where the candidate sells or auctions off cheesy items to make an extra buck.
Even if the money did go to his campaign — Trump 2016 never had to do that.
He actually used to have “major announcements” worth doing.
Trump’s 2016 campaign was a masterful performance that rejected the status quo and whacked an out-of-touch GOP upside the head.
People, especially Washington Republicans, seem to have forgotten that Trump’s popularity in the 2016 primary was thanks in large part to his willingness to attack Republicans who disdained the party base. He was the only candidate who understood that his battle was against Hilary Clinton, legacy media, as well as the GOP establishment.
He did so in remarkable fashion.
Who could forget when he ditched a GOP debate in 2016 and chose instead to host a fundraiser for veterans? He raised more than four million to help a group ignored by Washington — despite their sacrifices.
He is also the guy who brought former President Bill Clinton’s accusers to a press conference right before a debate against Hilary in the general election.
Both moves were brilliant, tremendous surprises that rejuvenated the base and connected.
How do $99 digital trinkets do that?
Perhaps Trump’s rapid response team on his campaign understood that they flubbed the announcement because soon after revealing the promotion, his team released an excellent commitment to free speech in America.
Among the promises from Trump are: banning the federal government from policing lawful domestic speech, firing any federal bureaucrat who has directly or indirectly engaged in censorship, and barring federal funds for universities that censor speech.
Strong free speech platform for 2024 just announced by Trump:
-Banning the Federal Government from policing lawful domestic speech.
-Firing any Federal Bureaucrat who has directly or indirectly engaged in censorship.
-Barring federal funds for universities that censor speech. pic.twitter.com/yoaCtZpYNw
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) December 15, 2022
All of that is compelling, but why didn’t he announce that before his NFT scheme?
Instead of focusing on his base, it seemed as if Trump was merely trying to line his own pockets.
That needs to change — and fast — if he has any desire of bringing the same voter enthusiasm to his latest bid for office.
He needs to remember that his most appealing message in 2016 was his bounding optimism and confidence in the American people.
His accurate assessment of the country’s problems — illegal immigration run amok, a deluge of blue-collar jobs leaving the country, a dishonest legacy media, and a political swamp of Republicans and Democrats ripping off the taxpayer and crafting laws out of touch with the average American — was matched with clear policies that were going to put America back on track.
The greatness of Trump’s 2016 campaign was not just his ability to name America’s problems, but to offer answers that would solve those problems.
His policies were reflective of his faith that America could be made great again if the American people were given the chance by having a president who forced the D.C. establishment to get out of their way.
All of that is still relevant — and that’s not necessarily a sign of the president’s failure in office. Four years is a short amount of time to expect any concrete change to take root in The Swamp.
As it stands now, polls show that the 2024 GOP nomination is still his to lose. In a crowded field, Trump is leading every potential Republican challenger.
Still, it is evident that somebody on his team needs to remind him of what worked in 2016 — and it wasn’t Trump collectible items.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own
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