Table of Contents
- A company named “The White House Gift Shop” is selling a “Trump Defeats COVID” commemorative coin for $100.
- But the shop isn’t actually affiliated with the White House, and is a private, for-profit company that severed its ties to the government years ago.
- The coin designer and CEO of the store said the coin “features more than a hint of superhero qualities” in Trump.
- Trump has been portraying himself as having conquered his COVID-19 illness, even though he is still infectious, he received a host of treatments, and doctors say he isn’t in the clear yet.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The White House Gift Shop is selling a $100 “Trump Defeats COVID” commemorative coin that portrays the president as something of a “superhero,” but the shop isn’t actually affiliated with the White House itself.
The shop made the coin available for preorder on Monday, shortly before Trump returned from the Walter Reed medical center, where he spent four days being treated for the novel coronavirus.
The shop doesn’t yet have an image of what the coin will look like up of the coin, but it says that preorders will be shipped on November 14.
Anthony Giannini, the White House Gift Shop chairman who also designed the coin, said that when the shop heard about the president’s diagnosis “we had faith and prayed, yet we knew our President would find a way to knockout COVID in early rounds of this battle.”
“President Trump, as you know, is a fan of boxing, and the new coin design features more than a hint of superhero qualities in history’s most fascinating president.”
The shop isn’t affiliated with Trump
Despite its name, the White House Gift Shop’s products aren’t actually made by the White House.
As Business Insider’s Grace Panetta previously reported, amid outrage over the shop selling coronavirus-themed commemorative coins earlier this year, the shop is actually a private, for-profit company that is not connected to the federal government.
This is even though the shop’s logo and merchandise looks official, and the website appears to have a government seal.
Talking Points Memo reported in 2018 that the entity behind the shop was once connected to the government: It was created under President Harry Truman’s government in 1946, and was operated by a nonprofit for Secret Service members.
But in 2011, a private company run by Giannini — Giannini Strategic Enterprises — was contracted to run it, and in 2013, full ownership was transferred to that company, Talking Points Memo reported.
The website says the shop “continues to actively support Law Enforcement Departments or Agencies by funding special advanced firearms training and by purchasing safe and effective arms for departments often in smaller jurisdictions with limited advanced training budgets.”
Its new coin does continue the narrative that Trump and the White House are pushing, however.
The White House is portraying Trump as strong
While hospitalized, Trump was given supplemental oxygen, an experimental antibody cocktail, and a steroid that is typically only used for severe cases of the virus. His treatment was one that is out of reach to most Americans.
Even though the president has left the hospital, his physician said he “may not entirely be out of the woods” and that doctors will wait another week before they “take that final deep sigh of relief.”
Severe coronavirus cases can often worsen during the seven-to-ten-day window, and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the US’ top infectious-disease expert, warned on Monday that the president’s condition could “reverse.”
Yet, Trump’s team has presented his return as heroic, with the president even baselessly suggesting that he might be “immune” to COVID-19.
Upon arrival at the White House, Trump immediately removed his mask and stood to salute soldiers, and filmed a video intended to portray him as strong and the virus as weak, telling Americans not to let the coronavirus “dominate your lives.”
The coin is intended to portray a similar image, and Giannini repeated Trump’s claims in the product description that the media had overblown the threat of the virus that has now killed more than 210,000 Americans.
Giannini said: “President Trump’s defeat of COVID is a symbol for each of us that COVID can be beaten, not always, sadly, but more often than the fear of COVID that is relentlessly pounded into us each minute of each hour of each day by many media outlets.”
The product description claims that Trump has beaten the virus, even though he is still infected and doctors still worry about his health.
“President Trump’s defeat of COVID is iconic, universal, heroic, for, indeed, in action, President Trump embraced experimental approaches for which he has been derided by anti-Trump media outlets such as CNN,” Giannini said.
He added: “American leaders must be strong, for the world is at once beautiful and cruel, and it is against the cruelty of the world that an American leader must be strong. Like it or not, President Donald J. Trump is strong to a mythic level; hence, my final coin seeks to convey the mythic core strengths of President Donald J. Trump.”
Giannini described himself and the store as nonpartisan but expressed support for Trump in a 2018 interview with Breitbart.