Twitter Thread Tracks Where Trump Likely Got Images For His Digital Trading Cards–And Hoo Boy
Matthew Sheffield tweets thread identifying online sources of images used in Trump's NFT collection.
On December 14, former Republican President Donald Trump teased he had a MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT coming the next day. Pundits and the public speculated it concerned his 2024 presidential campaign or the 2022 midterms.
Was he handpicking a running mate?
Was he going to make a play for Speaker of the House in a GOP controlled House of Representatives?
What no one expected was it all to be a set up for Trump’s latest money-making venture. Trump released a video introducing the world to his superhero digital trading cards—NFTs featuring himself in different costumes along with a chance to win prizes like autographs, Zoom calls, golf games or cocktails at Mar-a-Lago.
While his critics mocked the artwork and the narcissism, Trump’s MAGA minions bought all 45,000 cards at $99 each.
\u201c@mattsheffield @adriabree33 #PatheticMAGA\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
That's almost $4.5 million worth of non-fungible tokens and a prize lottery.
But where did that artwork—or the buff body in it—come from?
Well, it didn't take internet sleuths long to track down the bodies and outfits featured. The editing made reverse image searches pretty simple and now people are questioning if there are copyright issues.
Although no one was surprised Trump’s younger, thinner head was edited onto other bodies.
\u201c@mattsheffield Well, any of these scam cards would have to be. I mean, look at his actual self:\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
The Young Turks—a left-wing media outlet—shared the origins of many of the cards. National correspondent Matthew Sheffield—a former member of right-wing media—posted a Twitter thread of some of the easily identified rip-offs.
Sheffield started with Trump’s western sheriff cosplay.
\u201cIt appears that Donald Trump's NFT image of himself as a cowboy comes from an Amazon image that was slightly altered. https://t.co/B0b2SUSbX9\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
He followed up with the astronaut...
\u201cThe Trump astronaut NFT image appears to have been a recolored image that was stolen from @benedictredgrov https://t.co/pDAn59q3MP\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
...then the Tom Cruise Top Gun parody...
\u201cThe Trump fighter jet pilot NFT seems to be a Shutterstock image. Did they license it? https://t.co/uMtVqpnS8d\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
...although it may have been a Florida GOP Governor Ron DeSantis parody.
Ron and Don aren't on good terms lately.
\u201cDeSantis channels 'Top Gun' in campaign ad blasting media ahead of primary https://t.co/6g1CuY5Wjw\u201d— New York Post (@New York Post) 1661272049
\u201cTrump said "give me the Ron DeSantis Top Gun ripoff look but with the energy of a 3 Wolf Moon shirt"\u201d— Max Steele (@Max Steele) 1671122154
Sheffield's sources found Trump’s tuxedo at Men's Wearhouse.
\u201cHere is the image from which the Trump tuxedo NFT seems to have been created. \n\nIt's fitting that a fake billionaire would put himself in a tuxedo from Men's Wearhouse. The white bowtie is pitifully constructed. https://t.co/cNL2Pno3Jm\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
Trump’s tribute to his trophy hunting sons came next.
Donald Trump Sr. never talks about hunting, Don Jr. and Eric enjoy posing with endangered animals they've shot whenever possible.
\u201cTrump's NFT of him pretending to be a hunter (something he would not be caught dead doing in real life) seems to be derived from this wader set https://t.co/OepeYADNB6\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
Sheffield also delved into why AI created images might be behind Trump’s trading cards and why that's still a potential copyright infringement.
\u201cThere are slight differences with some of the above images and their sources, meaning that it is very possible that the NFT collection is derived from unlicensed images as well as AI-generated copyright infringements. Getty banned AI images for this reason https://t.co/tM0POknbcf\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
He closed out his thread with an error eagle-eyed individuals found in one of the Trump images.
A watermark—a means to hamper people using your images without authorization—is partially visible.
\u201cLOL, an Adobe watermark is visible in one of the Trump NFT images. The "artist" was cloning away the watermarks on the sample images but missed a spot. https://t.co/O8RYPX5jdS\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
People had questions about the product that lead The New York Post—a tabloid owned by Rupert Murdoch—to label Trump a con artist.
\u201c@mattsheffield I wonder how much involvement AI is playing here rather than classic \u201cphotoshoppery\u201d. They claim there are 45,000 cards of which there is a maximum of 20 of each design. So that\u2019s at least 2,250 different cards (not accounting for rarer ones)\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
\u201c@mattsheffield We\u2019re just getting started here. Apparently a number of purchasers of this fecal ephemera can\u2019t even access their \u201casset.\u201d\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
While others showed off more editing or artistic skills.
\u201c@mattsheffield Shocked not shocked\u2026\u201d— Matthew Sheffield (@Matthew Sheffield) 1671173234
\u201c#BenedictDonald, you are a traitor to this country.\u201d— Paul Leigh 'Some Rascal on the Internet' \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Paul Leigh 'Some Rascal on the Internet' \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1671475141
\u201chttps://t.co/4RDYLPNS5u\u201d— Paul Leigh 'Some Rascal on the Internet' \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6 (@Paul Leigh 'Some Rascal on the Internet' \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 \ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6) 1671122271
The former President currently finds himself facing legal entanglements on several fronts.
Has he just added copyright infringement to the list?