Donald Trump boasted he was “better” than Abraham Lincoln on Thursday as he unveiled a set of NFT digital trading cards featuring him as a superhero, an astronaut and a cowboy.
The former president was roundly mocked after promising he would make a “major announcement”, which fans had speculated would be related to his 2024 presidential run, but instead turned out to be a “desperate” new money-making venture.
Mr Trump promoted the cards – which will sell as non-fungible tokens for $99 (£80) each on his Truth Social media page – with the boast that he was more popular than former presidents Lincoln and George Washington.
“The Trump Trading Cards feature incredible artwork pertaining to my life and my career,” the 76-year-old businessman said in a video accompanying the launch, adding: “America needs a superhero.”
The NFTs include one of him dressed in a superhero costume with lasers shooting out of his eyes as he stands in front of Trump Tower.
Others show Mr Trump in camouflage gear holding a shotgun, and him wearing a red hat with the words “Dow” raising his fists triumphantly in front of a rising stock chart.
Mr Trump said buyers could also win “golf with you and a group of your friends at one of my beautiful golf courses”, as well as personal 10-minute Zoom calls and one-on-one meetings.
Fans who buy 45 digital trading cards, which would cost $4,455 before any taxes or fees, are “guaranteed a ticket to attend a gala dinner with Trump in South Florida”, his website says.
“Remember, Christmas is coming, and this makes a great Christmas gift,” the 45th president said in the video.
However, the release of the official cards provoked widespread criticism.
“The Trump Train is at the last stop. Donald Trump reached the end of the line and is now a runaway train rolling into oblivion. The transition from surreal to absurd to pitiful is complete,” said Shannon Fisher, a political commentator.
John Kiriakou, a CIA whistleblower turned author, added: “Just when you thought this grifter couldn’t humiliate himself any more than he already has… there’s this. THIS is what the big announcement was.”
Some Trump supporters described the new cards as a “desperate grift”. “Please tell me this is a troll and the real major announcement will come today,” said one.
Even President Joe Biden joined in, tweeting: “I had some MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENTS the last couple of weeks, too”. He then shared a list that included the lowering of gas prices and the release of Brittney Griner, an American basketball player freed in a prisoner swap with Russia.
The NFTs are being sold by a company called NFT INT LLC, which says it is “not owned, managed or controlled by Donald J. Trump”. According to his website, the proceeds will not go towards his re-election campaign.
The launch of Mr Trump’s cards comes at a time when the NFT market has stagnated, with prices dropping 97 per cent since the start of the year.
Mr Trump has largely been quiet since announcing his third run for president last month.
He had been the favourite for a Republican primary heading into the 2024 presidential race, but his campaign debut was overshadowed by an abysmal GOP midterm performance the party has blamed on the former president.
Recent polls show him trailing Florida Ron DeSantis in a hypothetical primary match-up.