Get them while you can! The White House Gift Shop’s new release of its “The First Indictment of President Donald J. Trump” commemorative coin is set for July.
The company, which claims to be “apolitical” and “unbiased,” is currently taking orders for the coin. The company anticipates “three coins will be created during the entire sequence of legal events.”
But don’t be taken in by the hype. The White House Gift Shop’s coin collections commemorate multiple presidential “firsts,” including many devoted to former president Trump’s political victories and historical firsts throughout his term. President Joe Biden’s “historical firsts” are also commemorated in his own coin collection.
Last year, the Associated Press fact-checked a claim that the White House was selling coins dedicated to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. But the coin in question features Joe and Jill Biden on one side and Zelensky and his wife on the other and is still for sale at the site.
So, if the coin was manufactured and sold by the White House Gift Shop, what was there left to “fact check?”
It’s semantics. Despite being called the “White House Gift Shop,” the privately owned company no longer has formal ties to the White House.
The company, founded in 1946, was originally named The White House Flower Fund and renamed The White House Police Benefit Fund under the Truman administration. The organization was permanently ordered in 1951 via a presidential memorandum, and its purpose was to provide flowers to White House Police officers’ families when they suffered a loss and to provide retirement gifts to the officers.
In 1951, following the death of White House Police Officer Leslie Coffelt and the injury of two others, while defending Truman from a 1950 assassination attempt, the president expanded the vision of the organization. The company was renamed “White House Gift Shop, est. 1946.”
While the company holds a patent as the “Official Original” White House Gift Shop, a closer look at the trademark reveals that the company is affiliated with a Pennsylvania Company called Giannini Strategic Enterprises. CEO and executive director of the company Anthony Giannini explain, “The White House Gift Shop is privatized,” adding that he acquired the shop in 2012.
Giannini said he officially acquired the shop in 2012 from the now-defunct U.S. Secret Service Uniformed Division Benefit Fund, now known as the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service.
The White House Gift Shop had its origins in the basement of the White House, but now has no physical location. It’s now an entirely online business and unaffiliated with the White House in any way.
As for the shop being “apolitical” and “unbiased,” it’s true. The merchandise offered on the site includes mugs, pens, and coins commemorating presidential “historical firsts” from both sides of the spectrum. Giannini is, in fact, a Trump supporter. The shop’s coins include many Trump firsts, including his Senate acquittals.
As distasteful as it is, Trump’s indictments are a historical first. Never in U.S. history has a former president been indicted on alleged “federal crimes.”
Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) made waves recently when he expressed his outrage over the White House’s connection with the Trump indictment coin. The senator said, “Now, whatever you think about it, whatever party you are, you gotta admit it’s poor taste that it’s capitalizing upon something without his permission, I’m sure. It’s the wrong thing to do. Have a sense of decency, White House Gift Shop.”
He is, of course, the subject of mockery for misunderstanding the connection, or lack of connection, between the company and the White House. Liberals tend to forget that in 2020, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) berated the White House Gift Shop for selling Trump COVID coins, honoring his strides in the battle against the coronavirus.
Sanders tweeted, “If the White House Gift Shop is going to produce $100 COVID-19 coins, Trump can sure as hell utilize the Defense Production Act to manufacture the gloves, gowns, and masks our medical workers desperately need.”
Twitter was quick to swoop in, with one poster responding, “If @SenSanders can take the time to publish this tweet, he can sure as he77 utilize a Google search to verify if the information is true or not.”
Don’t worry, though; the White House is still taking tourists’ money. The White House currently has two retail shops operated by the nonprofit White House Historical Association.