With the US’s Covid-19 death count on course to pass 100,000 and the country's economy cratering, Donald Trump’s supporters received an unusual marketing text from his campaign on Tuesday evening, pushing a new piece of merchandise: a Trump colouring book.
“Pres Trump set aside a LIMITED EDITION TRUMP COLORING BOOK just for you, friend!” read the text. “900 sold in 5 minutes! Don’t wait. Claim now!”
The book, on sale in the Trump campaign’s online store for $20, features 16 single-sided pages and comes with colouring pencils. Above a picture of Mr Trump surging towards the viewer with a clenched fist, his trademark red tie ruffling in the wind, the cover announces its contents with an exclamation mark: “The Official Trump Coloring Book contains 16 artistic depictions of our great leader and is perfect for both adults and youth!”
The campaign to re-elect the “great leader” has raised enormous sums of money – well into the hundreds of millions – but is struggling to refloat its candidate in the polls. Current surveys consistently show him trailing Joe Biden nationally, though the race seems closer in swing states.
While the president, his staff and his relatives insist that his administration’s handling of the pandemic is a success story – or even that the virus will “magically go away” after the November election – many of the claims they make have been repeatedly proven false, including the president’s periodic refrain that the US “leads the world in testing”.
Meanwhile, the US economy is facing an economic disaster of a kind unseen since the Great Depression, with unemployment predicted to rise as high as 25 per cent and the overall economy shrinking by as much as 30 per cent.
However, the mood in the Trump campaign’s online store is upbeat, with euphorically grinning models sporting abundant hats and shirts of all colours bearing the president’s updated slogan, “Keep America Great”.
Alongside the colouring book and the usual campaign hats, mugs, glasses and babygrows, the campaign is also selling a 200-piece Trump jigsaw puzzle bearing an image of the president standing with both thumbs up in front of an American flag – that will set a supporter back $35.
Set against the Trump cornucopia, Joe Biden’s campaign store is comparatively threadbare; offering nothing in the way of family games and toys, it sticks to the well-trodden ground of T-shirts, signs and badges, albeit in an exuberant array of colours and fonts.
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