Melania Trump returns to public life with a new NFT business

(CNN) – After months of relative public silence, former first lady Melania Trump stepped out of her private life before Christmas to announce a new project: a work of art. It’s about a watercolor closeup of her eyes, in form of non-fungible token (NFT) that is available for purchase.

It was a movement unusual for any former first lady, venturing into the world of blockchain sales, but Trump has never been a predictable or typical political wife.

“I am proud to announce my new company NFT, which embodies my passion for the arts, and will support my continued commitment to children through my Be Best initiative,” Trump said in a statement published through his social networks and on his website. Since then, Trump has posted 17 times on his Twitter account about the project.

What is the phenomenon of NFTs? 1:25

His NFT, titled “Melania’s Vision”, and drawn by French artist Marc-Antoine Coulon, is available until December 31 through the cryptocurrency Solana, at an approximate cost of US $ 175, depending on the market, and has a identity authenticated through blockchain. The sales could be incredibly lucrative for Trump, one of several celebrities, including Paris Hilton, Shawn Mendes, Tom Brady, Kate Moss and Grimes, who have recently plunged into the NFT market and left hundreds of thousands, yes. not millions, of richer dollars. Fans are often drawn to the opportunity to own a unique digital souvenir piece or original work of art.

Trump’s NFT also comes with an audio clip of her saying, “My vision is to look forward with inspiration, strength and courage.”
“Through this new technology-based initiative, we will provide children with computer skills, including programming and software development, so they can thrive once they leave foster care,” Trump added in Thursday’s statement. Noting that not every dollar of benefit is intended solely for her, but forgetting to clarify how, when and to what extent the charitable component will be part of the process.

Coulon, the artist, perhaps has details that the public does not know, as he wrote on his Instagram page: “The project is clearly defined and its objectives and the charities involved are very much in line with the spirit that motivated the project. “. A spokesman for Coulon did not return a request for comment.

Trump’s statement says that “a portion of the proceeds” will go to children leaving foster care, but it was not specified how much that portion amounts to. CNN attempted to contact Trump’s spokesperson to clarify these components of the NFT, with no response.

“I’m confused by it. It’s very random as a project and it seems insensitive to launch artwork of yourself online for $ 150,” said a former White House official who worked with Melania Trump on several of her East Wing initiatives, and one of several acquaintances or former Trump personnel who spoke to CNN on condition of anonymity to maintain personal relationships. “The timing seems strange too, the covid and natural disasters are impacting the country, and many people are struggling financially.”

Trump, who embraces a wealthy lifestyle, has not indicated publicly or privately to those who spoke to CNN that he has any financial need. “With Melania’s personal wealth, I certainly hope that the ‘portion of the income’ that goes towards helping children is significant,” said another person who worked with her for several years.

Because right now?

When he left Washington in January, Trump resumed his fondness for a life out of the public eye, retiring to Palm Beach, where he now resides full time in Mar-a-Lago. For several months after his leaving the White House, Trump did not appear in public, nor did it establish the operating guidelines for its Be Best initiative.

Since last spring, she has sporadically tweeted, mostly images and memories of her time as first lady; in September he only tweeted twice, and nothing in October.

However, in November, following his first public remarks at an event organized by the Log Cabin Republicans, which was held in the club’s ballroom, on the ground floor of his private residence in Mar-a-Lago, Trump seemed to feel a new desire to be the center of attention.

“It was like she suddenly remembered that she liked people to notice her,” said another Trump acquaintance.

At the event, Trump was honored with the group’s Spirit of Lincoln Award and made a short acceptance speech at a black tie dinner attended by guests and her husband, former President Donald Trump.

Since then, the former first lady has increased her activity on social media, regularly tweeting on both national (a tribute to the Pearl Harbor anniversary) and local (sending her prayers to Kentuckians in the wake of the deadly tornadoes).

She posted on Twitter photos from a Thanksgiving visit to a Florida children’s shelter, and this month, photos of herself, dressed in nautical stripes, on a Coast Guard ship wishing a special holiday message to the service members.

Then came the announcement of the NFT, and a mountain of retweets of subsequent press articles about his new company to make money.

“Why now?” Asks the acquaintance, suggesting that the appeal of the attention may be linked to Trump’s desire to reestablish his brand. “To some extent, she thinks she’s an influencer. It’s a way to stay relevant. If you think her fans love President Trump, they love Melania. There’s nothing she can do or say that they don’t support.”

More NFT is coming

A second NFT piece is likely to be offered next month, previewed for Jan.4, with a Jan.11 release date, according to information on Trump’s website, The website describes that part of the impetus to launch the first NFT was his “personal journey” from Slovenia to the White House.

“The beauty and hardships of the people, the majestic landscapes and the deep architecture have entered his goal and remain in his heart,” the description reads.

It’s unclear who is advising Trump on his decision to enter the NFT market, but the former White House official suggests this is Trump’s way of “trying to look busy,” something the former first lady doesn’t. he has particularly shown the public since leaving the White House.

“This is not exactly using your platform for greater global or domestic impact,” this person said. “This is probably a quick way to make money. It’s a classic Trump move, using his brand and his supporters to profit.”

Typically, most modern First Ladies create foundations or organizations, usually not-for-profit, that promote the initiatives they started during their tenures in the White House.

In Laura Bush’s case, this has resulted in part in her continuing efforts to help Afghan women, as well as support for American libraries and educational reading programs. Michelle Obama has several official initiatives that advance her work in support of girls and education, college attendance, and the right to vote.

Trump has said he is continuing his “Be Best” cause, but there are no known official events or targets for the initiative.

A change of position of Donald Trump

As first lady, Trump prided himself on not always aligning his messages in the East Wing with those in the West Wing, which could at times publicly place his views in direct opposition to those of the president. Her former spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham repeatedly told CNN that the former first lady did what she chose when she did and acted “independently” of her husband.

Trump’s foray into the world of NFTs seems another example of his lack of interest in the former president’s public comments, which runs counter to his recent views on cryptocurrencies, which he publicly attacked during two separate interviews with Fox Business.

Cryptocurrencies, Donald Trump said in June, are a “scam against the dollar,” and he questioned the veracity of the uptrend.

“The currency of this world should be the dollar,” Trump said, adding, “I think they should regulate them very, very strongly.”

In August he redoubled his dislike, saying cryptocurrencies are “a potential disaster waiting to happen”, and that he “hasn’t been a huge fan.”

However, his wife’s new website, from which people can click to cyber-shop her watercolor eyes, includes an entire page dedicated to explaining the complex world of NFTs, blockchain, and cryptocurrencies. It even includes a link to a suggested “digital wallet” platform from which clients can use the Solana cryptocurrency to purchase Trump’s limited release NFT.

A day after “Melania’s Vision” was revealed, Donald Trump seemed to have a new clarity on cryptocurrencies.

“Congratulations to my wife, Melania,” he said in a statement released to the public from his office. “The launch of Melania’s new NFT business embodies the American spirit of ingenuity, creativity and entrepreneurship. Leveraging blockchain technology, will provide Melania fans, art connoisseurs and the general public with the ability to collecting rare and limited edition pieces while benefiting children in host communities. “

CNN asked a Trump spokeswoman if the statement meant that Trump has changed his mind about viewing cryptocurrencies as a “scam” now that his wife is involved with NFTs, but received no response.

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Melania Trump returns to public life with a new NFT business