Trump’s ventures into selling Bibles, sneakers, and perfume are deemed unprecedented for a presidential candidate, according to experts

Sneakers. Perfume. Trading cards. Bibles.

Those are just a few of the things Donald Trump is promoting as he seeks to remove President Joe Biden.

They join a long list of Trump-branded products, ranging from steaks to scented candles, which the businessman-turned-president has licensed over the years.

But, as his campaign funds drop and his riches are jeopardized, Trump — who has never totally separated his political and financial careers — is now deliberately merging his commercial operations with his White House candidacy.

Harvard Law School Professor Lawrence Lessig told CNBC that “there is no precedent for this level” of commercial participation during a presidential campaign, yet “the trend has been building for many years.”

Brendan Fischer, Deputy Executive Director of Money in Politics Watchdog Documented and agreed.

“I can’t think of any other modern example of a presidential candidate hawking an array of goods for their private benefit,” Fischer went on to say.

According to Fischer, while that conduct would spark a campaign finance investigation for an average politician, it is unlikely to do so for Trump, who has been selling branded goods since before entering politics.

Trump's ventures into selling Bibles, sneakers, and perfume are deemed unprecedented for a presidential candidate, according to experts

“Trump is a unique case,” he remarked.

That distinction was on full display Tuesday when Trump introduced his latest promotion: a $60 Bible containing reproductions of the nation’s founding papers as well as lyrics from country musician Lee Greenwood’s classic song, “God Bless the U.S.A.”

The song by Greenwood, who is collaborating with Trump to endorse the high-priced holy book, is a regular staple at the presumptive Republican nominee’s campaign rallies.

Trump emphasized the campaign connection in a video promoting the offer, saying that Americans’ liberties are under assault and declaring, “We’re gonna get it turned around.” He also referred to his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again,” several times.

It is unknown how much money Trump is making from the Bible – he receives royalties from sales, according to a person familiar with the arrangement — but whatever he receives will essentially go into his pocket.

The Bible’s website claims no affiliation with Trump’s campaign. Instead, it uses Trump’s name, likeness, and picture under a paid license from CIC Ventures LLC.

According to Trump’s 2023 financial declaration, he is the “Manager, President, Secretary, & Treasurer” of CIC Ventures, with his revocable trust serving as the only owner. Trump has earned more than $5 million in speaking fees through the corporation, according to the filing. According to Florida company records, CIC’s address matches that of Trump’s golf course in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Lessig stated that Trump’s commercial decisions do not appear to violate campaign ethics or financial regulations.

“I don’t think there’s any ethical problem with it at all — so long as the proper reporting requirements are complied with,” the author of the article said.

“There may well be a strategic or brand problem with it, but that’s the same as with any political speech,” he said.

Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung told CNBC that “these successful business deals are completely separate from the campaign.”

Trump’s Biblical support occurred during Holy Week, which is a hallowed time for Christians leading up to Easter. It also came less than six weeks after Trump attended a sneaker conference in Philadelphia to introduce his own line of tennis shoes.

The preorder price for the aptly named Trump Sneakers ranges from $199 to $399. Two of the available versions feature the number 45, which refers to Trump’s tenure as the 45th President of the United States.

The website selling the sneakers also advertises Trump-branded “Victory47” cologne and perfume, both priced at $99.

“‘Victory’ is the signature scent of strength and success, encased in a luxurious gold bottle,” according to the website’s description of the cologne.

Trump’s attendance at the convention blurred the distinction between campaign outreach and economic enterprise.

“We are going to turn this country around quickly. We’re going to turn things around. And we’ll remember the young people, as well as Sneaker Con,” he assured the audience, which responded with a mix of applause and booing.

The sneaker site claims that “Trump” and its related design are trademarks of CIC Ventures, and it mentions that Trump has licensed his name and likeness to a business called 45 Footwear LLC. That company is supposedly registered in Wyoming, one of the most affordable places in the country to launch a corporation.

The shoes were not created, manufactured, or marketed by Trump or the Trump Organization, according to the website.

As the Biden campaign expands its fundraising lead over Trump’s political operation, the Republican nominee has stated that he “might” invest his own money into the race. He did not do this in 2020.

Trump also has only days to post a $175 million appeal bond to prevent the state of New York from collecting on a $454 million civil fraud judgment against him. He has already posted a $91.6 million bond while appealing a separate civil case in which he was found guilty of defaming novelist E. Jean Carroll.

Trump also faces 91 criminal counts in four different courts, with his first trial scheduled for April 15. Trump has spent more than $100 million on legal fees since leaving office in 2021, but none of it has come from his own pocket, according to The New York Times.


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