For a mere $99, you can obtain a set of President Trump digital trading cards.  That means you do not even get a real card, but only an image.  If you have any knowledge of computers, you can download every one of Trump’s bigger-than-life hero cards for free.

Regardless, it has been reported that the former President has sold more than $1 million worth of those worthless cards —  he has sold out of the limited edition.  I am sure most realize that they are not getting anything of real value, but they want to show support for Trump.  Some may believe that they may have collectible value in the future.  Good luck with that.

It is not surprising that a few million folks may purchase the so-called trading cards.  I am old enough to remember the Pet Rock.  Millions of dollars were spent on a stone that you can find in a creek virtually anywhere on earth.  And if you still doubt that there are people – unfortunate people – who will buy anything, you are not familiar with the shopping channels.

The real story is not about the folks who have – and will – spend $99 for the worthless “cards.”  It is about the guy selling them.  And it is relevant who is selling them.  If they were produced by some armchair entrepreneur in Des Moines, Iowa, that would be one thing.  All kinds of people produce political memorabilia for profit.  One of the so-called “mints” offered a Trump medallion a few years back – and maybe they still do.

Trump producing Trump cards is different.  And it is the depictions.  They are not images of the highlights of his political career – launching the Space Force, visiting North Korea, or negotiating the Abraham Accords.  Rather, they are depictions of a cartoon Trump as some sort of super dynamo across a range of professions.  Some suggest his prowess in real situations – such as golf or as an astronaut — and others as a cartoon special powers superhero right out of Dell Comics.

What is disturbing about them is that they reinforce his frequently self-proclaimed – and exaggerated –importance – his narcissism.  It is so flagrant that it is embarrassing.   It is also the third time in recent days that Trump has invited legitimate criticism and concern over inexplicable events – the first two being dinner with Kanye West and Nick Fuentes and, secondly, his suggestion to trash the Constitution. The one consistency in the three events seems to be a desire to draw attention to himself – even negative attention. These actions suggest that his run for re-election is not serious.

What makes the concept of trading cards unworkable is the lack of humor.  Some folks have fantasy magazine covers as a joke (mine has me looking like Arnold Schwarzenegger).  But the humor thing does not work for Trump because he has never demonstrated a sense of humor (think Reagan).  The trading cards come across as what he really thinks of himself in all those situations – his fantasies.

To understand just how misguided and inappropriate Trump’s latest folly is, just listen to what his closest allies are saying.  Newsmax, General Michel Flynn and even Steve Bannon have taken to the airwaves to lament this latest fiasco.

Perhaps Trump realizes that his chances of returning to the White House are next to nil.  Rather, he is going back to his old model as a celebrity entertainment brand.  He is his own reality show – his own shock-jock – for fun and profit.  You know, in the tradition of entertainers like Pat Paulsen, who announced intentions to run for President as a schtick – a publicity gimmick. 

I once described Trump as a carnival barker, but it seems he is both the barker and the curiosity inside the tent.

Whatever motivated Trump, it is safe to say that this trading card gambit is not going to help him politically.  It adds more obstacles on any path to the White House – as if he needed more.

It is long past the time that Trump be cut loose by the remnants of his political supporters — and maybe time for an intervention by the family.  He should be seen for his entertainment value – but no longer as a serious politician.

So, there ‘tis.