Never mind the North Korea summit. What happened to the commemorative coin?
Posted May 24, 2018 11:05 a.m. EDT
(CNN) — But what about the coin????
A much-ballyhooed Singapore summit between the United States and North Korea met its end Thursday when President Donald Trump called off the conference over some typically Kim Jong Unesque name-calling -- or, as Trump phrased it, "tremendous anger and open hostility."
The cancellation, for now, stamps out the prospects for peace between the long-at-odds nations, the denuclearization of North Korea and Trump's Nobel Peace Prize. Yet it did nothing to stop the production of snazzy coins featuring Trump and Kim in front of patriotic backdrops surrounded by olive branches.
Because the coins already exist.
Because they were made before the meeting with a fickle, autocratic dictator with a disdain for the West that literally goes back generations.
More than a few people saw the pitfalls in the premature printing of summit coins. Journalist Adam Weinstein remarked Monday, "There's no way a president pre-pressing a challenge coin to commemorate a not-yet-held summit with the North Koreans could ever go wrong."
To its credit, the White House distanced itself from the dubious doubloon from the outset, saying the White House Communications Agency creates coinage for every presidential trip abroad and it was not created or approved by anyone at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Nor did it require any taxpayer coins. Phew.
"Since 2003, White House Communications Agency members have ordered a limited number of commercially designed and manufactured souvenir travel coins for purchase," a White House spokesman said.
The commemorative -- or maybe not-so-commemorative -- spare change was called garish, weird, creepy and a Dumpster fire, and that was before it was deemed decidedly unnecessary.
Its snappy sense of humor ever-present, Twitter began minting jokes quicker than ... well, the White House mints North Korea summit coins.
Perhaps no surprise, President Barack Obama's former chief strategist, CNN's David Axelrod, was one of the first to take a jab.
"Coming soon to eBay: Historic summit coins!" he quipped.
Other tweeps played on the meme of young entrepreneur Frank Giaccio fulfilling his dream of mowing the White House lawn last year. Twitizen Paul Ryckert posted a photo of the boy mowing as Trump looked on.
"Can I pay you with US/Korea summit commemorative coins?" the caption reads.
Writer Thomas Ricks asked -- rather appropriately -- if the White House will issue a "no summit" coin. The White House did not return calls inquiring whether that is a possibility. (Disclaimer: Because no one really asked.)
A juggler and kazoo player going by The Hoarse Whisperer suggested that the coin is "now the Chuck E. Cheese token of presidential keepsakes." The Kumsusan Palace of the Sun: Where a Kim can be a Kim!
A tweep with the handle Tea Pain -- not to be confused with the Tallahassee rapper T-Pain (whose real name is Faheem, not T) -- wondered if Trump's heralded business acumen might be at play.
"One day we'll find out Trump did a short sale on the commemorative coins, then pulled outta the summit. #InsiderTrading," he tweeted.
Former Pentagon mouthpiece Adam Blickstein -- obviously tapping his deep Beltway connections -- reported that along with his "breakup letter," Trump sent his paramour half of the coin "imploring him to wear it around his neck until they're reunited, in love."
Awwwww! And you thought Harry and Meghan were adorable!
On Thursday morning, the White House Gift Shop -- established by President Harry Truman in 1946, which in the ultimate irony was before the Chicago Daily Tribune's infamous "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline -- summit coins briefly remained available to the public.
It's a different coin. This one features South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who is doubtless thrilled. But it raises the next question: They made two freaking coins?
This author can't judge, as he purchased one shortly before the site crashed around lunchtime. He couldn't resist the $5 discount and black velvet case.