Former President Donald Trump’s political action committees (PACs) have misled his supporters for years on how their donations are being spent. Now, it appears the former president has a new method of grifting his supporters — by selling digital collector’s cards that feature fictional depictions of himself.
According to an analysis by HuffPost, Trump’s Make America Great Again Inc. super PAC, which was promoted as a means for his supporters to donate to boost Trump-allied Republicans in the 2022 congressional midterms, spent only a fraction of the dollars that it raised on its purported mission.
Trump transferred $60 million from his own Save America PAC into the PAC intended to support congressional candidates. Another $9 million was put into the congressional PAC from a different pro-Trump PAC. Donations from supporters made up $4 million of the congressional PAC.
“Of that $73 million total, though, only $15 million went toward electing Republicans in five Senate races,” HuffPost found.
Some key races received very little financial support from Make America Great Again Inc. For example, HuffPost reported that “not a dime” went to help Herschel Walker, a former NFL star and Republican nominee for U.S. Senate who put up a close race against incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) in the Georgia runoff.
Because the super PAC intended to help Trump support Republicans in the midterms spent only $15 million, the remaining money from that fund — around $60 million — can now be used in Trump’s presidential campaign.
“It’s so obvious to the point of cliche at this point that Trump is in this for one person and one person alone — himself,” Rory Cooper, a former aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, told HuffPost. “He steals fundraising, picks lousy candidates, and is an anchor in competitive races, so one would wonder how much longer the party tolerates this loser nonsense.”
Trump’s PACs are currently being investigated by a federal grand jury, which is looking into his promises to use the funds raised to investigate fraud in the 2020 presidential election. (No credible evidence of widespread fraud affecting the election’s outcome has ever been found.) Instead of investigating election fraud, Trump has used the money to pay for his political rallies, his travel expenses and his legal bills. Trump has also used PAC funds to pay for portraits of himself and his wife, Melania Trump.
Trump’s latest venture appears to be a new way for him to continue draining the pocketbooks of his most ardent supporters.
On Thursday, Trump revealed the details of a “major announcement” he had teashed earlier this week — he is releasing a line of digital, Non-Fungible Token (NFT) trading cards that cost $99 each.
In his announcement, Trump said that he hopes he’s “your favorite president of all time, better than Lincoln, better than Washington” and that the cards “feature some of the really incredible artwork pertaining to my life and my career.”
Despite Trump’s claim, the cards actually feature Trump in roles including a cowboy/sheriff, an astronaut, a fighter pilot and a superhero in a wrestling ring. On the superhero card, Trump has exaggerated muscles and uses the U.S. flag as a cape. A wrestling belt that reads “Trump Champion” is wrapped around his waist.
Trump did have a brief career in the wrestling world, but didn’t participate in any match himself, and never won a championship belt.
Users on social media reacted to the cards.
“You can’t make this up. Donald Trump’s ‘major announcement’ are digital trading cards that cost $99 each. Classic grifter and narcissist behavior,” wrote Democratic political activist Victor Shi.
“We thought Trump’s ‘major announcement’ was that he was making a push to be Speaker [of the House], or that he was announcing his VP pick, or that he was running as an independent or starting a third party,” wrote lawyer and anti-Trump commentator Tristan Snell. “No. He’s releasing a line of collectible cards. That’s how far he’s already fallen.”
We need to update you on where Truthout stands.
To be brutally honest, Truthout is behind on our fundraising goals for the year. There are a lot of reasons why. We’re dealing with broad trends in our industry, trends that have led publications like Vice, BuzzFeed, and National Geographic to make painful cuts. Everyone is feeling the squeeze of inflation. And despite its lasting importance, news readership is declining.
To ensure we stay out of the red by the end of the year, we have a long way to go. Our future is threatened.
We’ve stayed online over two decades thanks to the support of our readers. Because you believe in the power of our work, share our transformative stories, and give to keep us going strong, we know we can make it through this tough moment.
If you value what we do and what we stand for, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our work.