"Cash grab": Knives out in TrumpWorld as his closest allies rage over his "worthless" NFT stunt

Former Trump advisers demand aides involved in his "major announcement" immediately be fired

Published December 16, 2022 1:03PM (EST)

US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump (L) congratulates Senior Counselor to the President Stephen Bannon during the swearing-in of senior staff in the East Room of the White House on January 22, 2017 in Washington, DC. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Former President Donald Trump's "major announcement" that ended up being $99 non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has frustrated even his closest supporters, making him the target of ridicule online. 

The cash grab had many of his opponents and supporters rolling their eyes, with some criticizing Trump for not focusing on his 2024 reelection campaign, and calling on him to fire the person who thought of the NFT idea. 

"I can't watch it again, make it stop," conservative host Steve Bannon said of the video of Trump promoting the NFTs on his podcast. "Anybody on the comms team and anybody at Mar-a-Lago — and I love the folks down there — but we're at war. They oughta be fired today."


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Trump supporter John Cardillo took to Twitter to complain about the former president's "weird" announcement. "I supported Trump for years but this is ridiculous," he wrote on Thursday. "Pushing a worthless NFT for $99 a week before Christmas on the heels of the #FTX collapse is beyond wrong. Who advised him to do this?" Cardillo called the announcement "ridiculously tacky" on Twitter, adding that Trump "can't help himself in making these unforced errors."

Former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said on the conservative video hosting platform Rumble that he would fire whoever advised Trump "immediately."

"I can't believe I'm going to jail for an NFT salesman," tweeted far-right media personality Baked Alaska, who pleaded guilty to unlawfully protesting on Jan. 6. 

Trump announced the cards on Truth Social, writing "AMERICA NEEDS A SUPERHERO." The sold-out NFTs featured images of Trump in a variety of muscular costumes posing in front of various backgrounds with MAGA iconography. Some cards feature the former president ripping off his shirt, or surrounded by raining gold bricks that read TRUMP. 

Former Trump advisers Sebastian Gorka and Steve Cortes joined Bannon on his "War Room" podcast and agreed that the president should have stayed far away from this stunt.

"The president should not be involved with this," said Gorka. "Whoever wrote that pitch should be fired and should never be involved" in Trump's 2024 reelection campaign. 

Far-right talk show host Ben Shapiro sarcastically mocked Trump's move, tweeting "Thank God, the digital trading cards are here. It was indeed a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT."

Some also took the NFTs as a sign of Trump's political decline, including conservative streamer Tim Pool who tweeted that the former president is "basically retired." 

"Demand improvement. Put the pom poms down," tweeted talk show host Jesse Kelly. "We need a better Trump."

Even QAnon supporters had enough of Trump's antics, calling his announcement a "foolish NFT cash grab," according to a report from Vice. "QAnon John," a conspiracy theory influencer, called the NFTs "tone deaf to a VAST MAJORITY of Trump's base." 

Despite the widespread criticism and mockery, Trump's die-hard fans still rushed to get their trading cards. The 45,000 NFTs that were initially available are now sold out, with some being traded for more than $8,000. 


By Samaa Khullar

Samaa Khullar is a news fellow at Salon with a background in Middle Eastern history and politics.

MORE FROM Samaa Khullar


Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Aggregate Donald Trump Michael Flynn Politics Sebastian Gorka Steve Bannon