Politics - News Analysis

Turns Out Only a ‘Portion of the Proceeds’ From Melania’s NFT Sales Goes to Charity

Her own husband, former President Donald Trump once described Bitcoin as a scam that “competed against the dollar” but that hasn’t stopped Melania Trump from announcing a new business endeavor that relies on cryptocurrency and digital art, The Washington Post reports.

Melania, who has largely been out of the public eye since she and her husband departed Washington just under a year ago now plans to launch a platform that sells NFTs, or non-fungible tokens. She announced this in a statement Thursday in her first public move since leaving the White House.

I’m largely out of the loop when it comes to understanding NFTs, but according to the Post, they are a type of digital assets that are either images or audio recordings. Ownership of these digital assets is usually stored on the blockchain, and apparently, they can really rake in the dough.

These have certainly fattened the pockets of Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s quarterback Tom Brady. He’s recently offered NFTs that included digital ownership of his college resume and his old cleats. Roughly 16,000 NFTs were made available through Brady’s collection and each was priced about $80. They were an instant hit and sold out within minutes, grossing around $1.3 million. Other celebrities such as Paris Hilton and Justin Bieber have hopped on this bandwagon, providing them with direct connections to mass audiences.

Melania’s first NFT offering is a watercolor portrait of her “cobalt blue eyes.” Called “Melania’s Vision,” the former first lady claims it would provide “the collector with an amulet to inspire.” And these NFTs don’t come cheaply. Each will go for about $187.

And she’s continuing to go from there, with more NFTs in the works that sound, well, pretty vague. She’s claiming that next month she plans to offer NFTs in “a one-of-a-kind auction of historical importance” that will include “digital artwork, physical artwork, and a physical one-of-a-kind accessory.” What all that would be, she did not say.

She’s also claiming “a portion of the proceeds” will assist “children aging out of the foster care system.” The Post notes, however, that her office did not respond to questions about how big that portion will be.

And that vagueness is raising a few eyebrows.

“I imagine with that vague language her new venture will certainly be scrutinized,” noted Katherine Jellison, a professor of history at Ohio University. Jellison has conducted research on first ladies, so she knows what she’s talking about.

Over the years Donald Trump has continually boasted about all the money he’s donated to charity, but as we know, he wasn’t nearly as generous as he claimed. Some of that money even went to his 2016 presidential campaign. And a New York judge ordered him to pay $2 million in damages in 2019 because he misused funds from a tax-exempt charity.

Melania, who’s now 51, has often claimed she’s very different than her 75-year-old husband. But you sure wouldn’t know that by the looks of this.

Indeed, her actions often belie how alike everyone in this family is. But she’s also failed to distance herself from Trump’s baseless claims that President Joe Biden has stolen the election. For many people, her recent statement signifies that she, just like her husband, hopes to make money while maintaining a carefully crafted image.

“This new project in many ways says she is a true Trump,” Jellison said. “She is entrepreneurial and she wants to be center stage, in a way that she calls the shots.”

Jellison notes that people don’t pay as much attention to Melania Trump as they used to, but even so, she has many passionate detractors and admirers. On social media, however, many are slamming this new venture as nothing more than an inappropriate cash grab. Others praised it as an innovative way to raise money for children by others.

“I am proud to announce my new NFT endeavor, which embodies my passion for the arts, and will support my ongoing commitment to children through my Be Best initiative,” she said in a statement.

She should have turned that attention on her husband. While she urged kindness online, her husband was regularly derogatory on Twitter, doing things like calling people he didn’t like “dumb as a rock” and issuing scores of other nastier tweets. But there’s another issue that makes Melania’s gambit rather suspect: It’s being powered by Parler, which has attracted scores of nuttier Trump supporters who were kicked off of larger platforms.

In all likelihood, this is just a glorified scam. A way for Melania to line her own pockets and feel good about herself at the same time. She really is, after all, a Trump, and that’s what this family is good at: scamming people.

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meet the author

Megan has lived in California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida and she currently lives in Central America. Living in these places has informed her writing on politics, science, and history. She is currently owned by 15 cats and 3 dogs and regularly owns Trump supporters when she has the opportunity. She can be found on Twitter at https://twitter.com/GaiaLibra and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/politicalsaurus

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