As tens of thousands of Americans have died of COVID-19-related illnesses, more than one million have been infected, and as testing capacities remain low and millions have lost their livelihoods, the White House Gift Shop is celebrating the supposed achievements of Trump’s coronavirus task force with a new commemorative coin branded “World vs Virus.”
The new coin, priced at $100, “honors the global fight against COVID-19,” according to the shop. The coin is available in a limited edition of 1,000 and it comes with a hand-signed parchment certificate of authenticity.
However egregious, the White House Gift Shop is no longer operated by the White House or the federal government (the shop was sold to Giannini Strategic in 2012). Anthony Giannini, the owner of WhiteHouseGiftShop.com, told the website snopes.com that the gift shop “is not affiliated with The White House, nor is The White House involved in any of our decisions, products, or operations.”
Designed by the company Challenge Design, one side of the coin features a microscopic rendering of SARS-CoV-2 overlaid on a world map, which is surrounded by slogans (with some words capitalized in a typical Trumpian fashion) that read: “World vs Virus; Together We FOUGHT the UNSEEN Enemy; Everyday HEROES Suited Up; Everyday CITIZENS Did Their Part.”
The other side of the coin features an empty presidential podium (the same podium from which Trump delivers his confrontational daily press briefings) and lists the members of the COVID-19 task force: Trump and Vice President Mike Pence as well as Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and doctors Jerome Adams, Deborah Birx, and Anthony Fauci.
All proceeds will be donated to “COVID-19 medical research,” the shop says, adding that it aims to raise $100,000 to benefit a list of institutions that will be announced in late May.
Donald Trump — who initially labeled the coronavirus a “democratic hoax,” then suggested that it will disappear “like a miracle” in spring, and recently pondered out loud if injecting disinfectants intravenously could heal the disease — has been widely criticized for mishandling the worst health and economic crisis to face the country in a century. Under his leadership, the United States now has the highest number of COVID-19 deaths worldwide.