Photo by Ryan Plomp on Unsplash

Trump Is Trying To Get Free From Debts With New Running Shoes

Phil Garber
5 min readFeb 18, 2024

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The world is coming dangerously unhinged and a candidate for president of the United States is trying to pay off hundreds of millions of dollars in legal judgments by selling sneakers and begging for GoFundMe donations.

That would be trump who may think he can lace up his new, “Never Surrender High-Tops” and run away from the $355 million he’s been ordered to pay for faking his economic numbers to dupe banks, insurers and others.

Manhattan Supreme Court Judge Arthur Engoron ruled that trump will be fined roughly $355 million and be barred from doing business in New York for three years after a monthslong civil fraud trial from late last year into early January. The civil trial stemmed from a lawsuit that New York Attorney General Letitia James filed in September 2022 in which she accused trump, his two adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, The Trump Organization and two firm executives, Allen Weisselberg and Jeff McConney, of fraudulently overvaluing assets to secure more favorable bank loans and taxation deals.

On top of the $355 million trump has been ordered to pay, a judge has required him to pay another $83.3 million to the writer E. Jean Carroll for damaging her reputation after she accused trump of sexual assault. Bloomberg’s billionaires’ list estimated that trump’s net worth in 2021 was about $2.3 billion, meaning the two rulings alone could take out almost a fifth of trump’s net worth.

In hawking his new line of sneakers, trump makes the highly dubious claim that he won’t benefit from sales and that only 1,000 pairs of sneakers will be sold. With a $399 price tag, it’s unlikely many MAGA followers will afford the new footwear to join in racing along with the ex-president who hopes to be reelected in 2024.

The great con man also is banking on a new GoFundMe site to continue to bilk the public to pay for his astronomical legal bills. The sketchy, new GoFundMe site’s biggest contributor to date is an NFL running back.

Trump also is peddling a new “ Victory47” cologne and perfume. But even a $99 bottle won’t be able to cover the stench left from the grifter’s latest grifts.

In the latest example of his absence of any sign of dignity and class, trump took the podium and hawked his latest merchandise rip off at Saturday’s “Sneaker Con, the Greatest Sneaker Show On Earth” at the Philadelphia Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

Trump proudly showed the crowd his new “official trump footwear” made with gold lame with an American flag detail on the back. The limited edition sneakers are touted as a “true collector’s item” that is “Bold, gold, and tough, just like President Trump.” The website claims “The Never Surrender” sneakers are your rally cry in shoe form. Lace-up and step out ready to conquer.”

The sneakers are just the latest in trump’s marketing of gaudy, tasteless merch. In 2022, he claimed to have taken in between $100,000 and $1 million for a series of digital trading cards that portrayed him photoshopped in a series of cartoon-like images, including an astronaut, a cowboy and a superhero.

The new sneaker website says it is run by CIC Ventures LLC, a company that Trump reported owning in his 2023 financial disclosure. A similarly-named company, CIC Digital LLC, owns the digital trading card NFTs, or non-fungible tokens.

The sneakers are sold through “45Footwear” which “is not political and has nothing to do with any political campaign.” The company also “is not owned, managed or controlled by Donald J. Trump, The Trump Organization, CIC Ventures LLC or any of their respective principals or affiliates.” The 45Footwear company uses trump’s name, likeness and image under paid license from CIC Ventures LLC, “which license may be terminated or revoked according to its terms.”

Trump Fragrances are expected to start shipping in June and the sneakers, which are individually made to order, are expected to start shipping in July. The website notes ominously and in true trump fashion, that the images shown on the website “are for illustration purposes only and may not be an exact representation of the product.”

It further notes that “shipping and delivery dates are estimates only and cannot be guaranteed. We are not liable for any delays in shipments.”

There are no refunds. All sales on GetTrumpSneakers.com are final.

Trump’s sneakers are nearly quadruple the average price of sneakers. In 2021, the average price was $110.15. His sneakers, however, are a pittance compared with the Christian Louboutin Men’s Lou Pik Pik 2 Strass Orlato Leather Sneakers, which retail at $2,495. And then there is always the Women’s Mesh Chunky Sneakers, Breathable Lace Up Low Top Running Trainers, Casual Outdoor Gym Sports Shoes for the low price of $21.48.

As far as trump’s “Victory 45” cologne, at $99 it is hardly a top of the line in colognes. That title would go to the Clive Christian №1 Imperial Majesty Perfume, selling for $12,721.89 an ounce, with only 10 bottles ever made. But as Bing.com notes, “Remember, these colognes are not just about the scent; they are also works of art and status symbols. Whether you’re a connoisseur or simply curious, these fragrances offer a glimpse into the world of olfactory extravagance!”

The sneakers and cologne are simply the latest trump merch. The trump store sells every conceivable merch. That includes trump MAGA hats, trump cookies, trump robes, trump boat flags, trump pickle ball paddles, trump candles, trump wine, trump honey, trump necklaces, trump earrings, trump teddy bears, trump baseballs, trump footballs, trump sweatshirts, trump hoodies and so much more.

Soon after the court judgment was ordered, a Florida woman created a new GoFundMe site called “Stand with Trump; fund the $355M Unjust Judgment.” As of Sunday, the site had collected $279,796 from 610,000 suckers, including the largest donation to date of $5,000 from Green Bay Packers professional football player Aaron Jones.

The campaign was started by a trump neighbor, Elena Cardone, the wife of Miami-based private equity manager Grant Cardone. She posted, “Give something & DEMONSTRATE that the people of America are standing together against unjust rulings like this where a bias judges & corrupt legal system is out of control.”

“In standing with Trump, we’re upholding the cause of every business owner and entrepreneur who believes in the fight against a system that increasingly seeks to penalize dissent and curb our freedoms,” the website says. “Let’s stand with Trump to ensure that justice prevails and that we continue to fight for a country that respects freedom, honors courage, and rewards the unwavering spirit of its people.”

A July 20, 2023, story by Huff Post reported that investors have claimed they were defrauded by Grant Cardone, a social media influencer who promotes questionable business ventures to millions of followers.

The GoFundMe site has at least one far right critic. Laura Loomer, a white nationalist, conspiracist and steadfast trump ally. She said people should not donate to the GoFundMe site because it is “anti-trump and liberal. GoFundMe is notorious for banning conservative campaigns. I have been banned from GoFundMe since 2018.”

Federal Election Commission filings shows $54 million in legal expenditures were made last year by trump’s political fundraising machine. The spending came as Trump has been battling multiple lawsuits and dozens of felony charges in four criminal cases. The Associated Press reported that Save America, Trump’s presidential campaign and his other fundraising organizations have devoted $76.7 million to legal fees over the two years.

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Phil Garber

Journalist for 40 years and now a creative writer