Republicans are rushing into NFTs
Former first lady Melania Trump and conservative artist Jon McNaughton both announced online NFT shops within a day of each other
When it comes to NFTs in politics, it’s rightwing Republicans who are the early adopters.
Former first lady Melania Trump and conservative artist Jon McNaughton both announced online NFT shops within a day of each other last month. Trump promised to release NFTs “in regular intervals” at melaniatrump.com, while McNaughton launched mcnifty.art, where he’s selling a collection of NFT images of former President Donald Trump.
“I don’t understand why, but they’re very collectable and they’re going to be around a long time,” McNaughton said in a video explaining the collection. “I am the artist who paints Trump and I do a pretty good job of it, so these NFTs are historic, they represent our time in history.”
The former first lady’s first NFT is a video of a watercolor painting of her eyes titled “My Vision” by French artist Marc-Antoine Coulon. It includes an audio recording of her saying, “My vision is look forward with inspiration, strength, and courage,” and a portion of the proceeds from the sale will go to helping children who are aging out of foster care, Trump said in a statement.
Coulon, who’s painted watercolor portraits of pop stars like Britney Spears and Rihanna, also painted Trump’s second NFT, which was announced today as a part of the Head of State Collection. The NFT is a watercolor portrait of Trump in the white, broad-brimmed Herve Pierre hat she wore when French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte visited the White House in 2018, and just one has been minted. Trump is also selling the hat itself; it’s like a FLOTUS Kardashian Kloset with an NFT shop attached. But will she ever release an NFT of her best tweet?
Republicans have also used NFTs to raise money for their campaigns. Last September, Minnesota gubernatorial candidate Scott Jensen, a doctor and former state lawmaker who’s minimized the threat posed by COVID-19 and opposed public health measures to slow the spread of the virus, put out a pair of state fair-themed NFTs. In Arizona, U.S. Senate candidate Blake Masters released an NFT of the book cover for a book he cowrote with entrepreneur and rightwing megadonor Peter Thiel.
Masters minted just 99 NFTs of his book cover and sold them for $5,800, the Federal Election Commission maximum contribution, and they sold out. Meanwhile, McNaughton is offering 10,000 NFTs, and Trump sold 2,807 NFTs of “My Vision,” according to Solana, a blockchain platform.
The Republican push into NFTs is backed by the conservative tech industry. Trump partnered with the social media company Parler for her NFT launch, and the company promoted the “Melania’s Vision” sale through its mailing list. McNaughton is working with LetsGo, an NFT platform whose CEO has worked with rightwing figures including Milo Yiannopolis and Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), according to McNaughton’s site.