Trump introducing his Never Surrender sneakers at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia on February 17.,

Trump introducing his Never Surrender sneakers at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia

(Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Never Surrender the Gold Lamé

Fresh off his latest legal triumph - payment due of $355 million - and his yuge win in historians' annual presidential ranking - dead last as Worst. President. Ever. - the "greatest con artist in world history" has unveiled his latest trashy, loutish grift: $400, ugly-ass, gold-spray-painted "Never Surrender" high-top sneakers, "Bold, gold and tough, just like President (sic) Trump." And just like his steak, water, vodka, airline, deodorant, board game, casinos and mugshot mugs, he says, "I think it’s gonna be a big success."

Lately, it's true, success has been scant for the one-time master of The Art of the (crooked) Deal. President's Day brought the glum news that, while political scholarsranked AbeLincoln America's best leader - Obama was #7, Biden #14 - they again deemed the orange former president and current 91-count perp the worst president in America's history, by the biggest margin on the list: "It’s bad. Like, way behind James Buchanan bad." Days before, there was the stunning $355 million fine imposed by Judge Arthur Engeron in Trump's civil fraud trial - plus court-imposed interest of $100 million that will increase daily - bringing the total he owes to $542 million and counting. And Engeron didn't hold back: On chicanery and fraud "that shock the conscience," he offered a blistering "road map to Trump's thievery" as a "remorseless con artist" whose every act is "based on consistent and shameless cheating, deceiving, falsifying documents and lying" in order to "rip off everyone he can."

Trump responded to yet another loss in court with his usual contrition and grace. Just kidding. Obviously, he raved. Engeron is a "CORRUPT AND MANY TIMES OVERTURNED ‘JUDGE.’" James is a "RADICAL LEFT SOROS BACKED SLOB OF AN ATTORNEY GENERAL." Once again, "NOTHING LIKE THIS HAS EVER HAPPENED IN OUR COUNTRY BEFORE," also, "THIS IS COMMUNISM." Because he's 12, it is "ALL POLITICAL PROSECUTIONS OF YOUR FAVORITE PRESIDENT, ME." In an especially depraved touch, he even managed to make Putin's political assassination of Navalny not about a murderous thug eradicating a man of courage and conscience, but about himself and being held to account for his petty crimes. "The sudden death of Alexei Navalny has made me more and more aware of what is happening in our Country," he jabbered. "It is a slow, steady progression... leading us down a path to destruction." At a Tuesday Fox town hall, he went full, oblivious slime: "It's a form of Navalny." Fucking cretin.

In response, he's turned to what he's always turned to in a self-serving, small-minded life: grifting. And hawking his endless crap with pitches as tawdry as the soulless ghoul whose name it bears: "The world's greatest steaks," vodka that's "taken off like crazy," an airline that "had more people than anyone else," suits to "guarantee you're always board-room ready," mattresses, vitamins, casinos, shirts, ties, water, wine, candles, cookies, earrings, robes, blankets, speakers, pickleball paddles (on sale for $147.45!). There's Trump the Game - get "everything you ever wanted to own!" - Success and Empire deodorants - from reviews: "Smells like flop sweat, Adderall and cowardice," "There is nothing about this product I find acceptable," "No one loves Empire Deodorant more than me..We're going to have so many Empire Deodorants you're going to get sick of Empire Deodorant." It all crashed and burned. This year, he added digital trading cards - "the greatest trading cards in history" - pieces of a suit he wore to court - "it was a great suit" - and mugs saying "Never Surrender" with the mugshot from his surrender.

Now there are sneakers. The day after Citizen Trump got that $355 million slap from Judge Engeron, he turned up at two events. One was a campaign rally in Michigan, where he bellowed to 2,000 supporters in a freezing plane hangar about "repulsive abuses of power" by miscreant judges and prosecutors - "crooked," "a lunatic," "an animal" - who are "set(ting) fire to our laws like no one has ever seen in this country before." The other was, incongruously, Sneaker Con, “The Greatest Sneaker Show on Earth," in (very blue) Philadelphia, where before an atypically young, diverse, weed-wafting crowd he launched his very own "official sneaker" - the hideous, cheesy, gold--sprayed "Never Surrender High-Tops," with flag and T, just $399. "I have some incredible people that work with me on things, and they came up with this," he said, clutching the garish monstrosities in his teeny hands as the crowd began booing. "This is something I’ve been talking about for 12 years, 13 years, and I think it’s gonna be a big success."

Except for a red sole, and in keeping with his Richie-Rich Trump vision of wealth, his "incredible people" had slathered the entire shoe plus laces in gold spray, inevitably inviting jokes about golden showers, clown shoes and trippy Democratic competitors. "That's the real deal," he boasted of his blinding creation. Except for one shrieky MAGA hysteric - "We need him! He's a good man! "- sneakerheads were not impressed. Boos rose from the crowd, along with a wave of "Go Biden!" chants. “Wow, a lot of emotion, there’s a lot of emotion in this room! Thank you!," Trump burbled above the din. Then the old, desperate ploy: "The nice thing is...We have lines going around the block..They've never seen anything like it!" One observer: "A needier man has never existed." Other skeptics summoned visions of Four Seasons Total Landscaping and My Pillow Guy morphing into My Sneaker Guy. Michael Steele: "This is what it's come to." Charlie Pierce: "He's one step from selling counterfeit CDs from a card table on 2nd Avenue."

The shouty GetTrumpSneakers website - "For the First Time Ever! Buy Now! Special Offer!" - warns they're "Super Limited!" so "with millions of fans, get these before they sell out!" "Join Trump's sneaker community!" it gushes about a tubby loser who's likely never worn a sneaker. "Be a part of history!" There are 1000 pairs, each is numbered, 10 will be autographed, limit 3 pairs per person, buy 2 or more for a (lousy) 5% off, "bonuses" include extra laces, an "exclusive Trump Superhero charm" (don't ask), a chance for 2 tickets to a launch party, date TBD, no guarantee the perp will attend. There are also low-top, "45"-bedecked sneakers in "T-Red” or “POTUS” white for $199. Also Victory47 perfume in a golden bottle with a Trump-head stopper for $99: "Our fragrances are curated to capture the essence of success and determination...symbolizing victory and strength." Or per wiseacres: "That sweet smell of guilty verdict and federal prison chow," also (diluted) turpentine, cat urine, bleach, but drink or inject?

It's "a tribute to the Trump legacy, blending premium craftsmanship with a distinctive style...symbolizing leadership and patriotism." Just one glitch: The sneakers evidently don't exist. The FAQs tell the tale. Shipping dates are 5 and 6 months away; the response to, "Why such a long lead time?" is that they're "made to order." Scammers gonna scam: They also haven't been made, though they'll be coming any day like the health, infrastructure, immigration etc plans. To the query, "Will I be getting the exact sneaker on the site?" comes, "The images shown are for illustration purposes only...WE MAKE NO WARRANTIES (sic) IN RELATION TO THE ACCURACY OF ANY INFORMATION ON THE WEBSITE." So, you might get, like, a Trump steak or Empire deodorant stick instead? Hey, if you're lucky you'll get this fabulous Trump Doll Collection with the whole family: Melania, who came from a Ukrainian website, Don Jr., "my other son," and two anatomically correct Ivankas, "a personal fantasy of mine, actually." Act now, this offer is going fast.

Likewise suspiciously, less than a day after his gold-spray-painted grotesqueries appeared, the website announced they were "SOLD OUT!" Theories abound. A single, foreign entity - starts with R, ends with a, symbolized by a bear? - "bought" them all in an illegal cash transfer to Trump in exchange for stolen U.S. military secrets. The too-reasonable price is only for the right sneakers; the left were in a container ship shot up by the Houthis, were pushed overboard, washed ashore and are being sold on Craig's List in Yemen. The sneakers that don't yet exist will be made in Ivanka's Chinese sweat shops for $4.50 a pair, to then surface online for insane prices. (Wait, that's already happened: At the launch some imbecile paid $9,000 for a pair, and several pairs are on sale or have sold on eBay for up to $7,500.) Or the whole scheme is already a wash because French designer Christian Louboutin, who has trademarked red-soled shoes and won several lawsuits on the issue, represents one courtroom too far.

Given Trump's sketchy legal and financial history, the last option seems plausible. He's had at least 15 failed businesses, apart from a failed presidency, and been involved in over 4,000 related legal cases in federal and state courts. He's been a crook most or all of his life, with associations to prove it: Over the years, his "crime-infested" Trump Tower has been shady home to a long list of felons, fraudsters, money launderers, tax evaders and Russian mobsters. Just recently, over a dozen of his lawyers have quit, abandoning his bourgeoning legal quagmires. A narcissistic asshole who's never been held to account, he's also had a running cease-and-desist battle with over a dozen artists whose music he regularly, heedlessly rips off; they've blasted his "craven political purposes," told him, "Fuck you. Stop playing my song," and called him "the anti-Christ." His crappy high-tops will presumably suffer the low-life fate of all his other shoddy ventures, whether before or after his 91 felonies do him in.

Above all, regardless of legality, is the crude, dumpster-fire vulgarity of it Behold, a sort-of former president and current OMFG presidential contender peddling bootleg, cheapjack, "fashion-mangled" off-whites "designed with all the crayons and colored sharpies he didn’t eat or stick up his nose." It's beyond unseemly, even for him. "I've seen many, many tasteless things in my nearly 64 years on Earth, but as God is my witness those shoes are the absolute most tacky items I’ve ever seen," writes one horrified patriot. "It’s as though all that Trump is has been boiled down and molded into sneaker form." Another suggests they look like "Trump's arrogance in shoe form," the "kind of sneaker you’d expect from a man who created a fake university named after himself and had to pay $25 million to settle lawsuits accusing him of fraud. They’re the go-to athletic shoe for people fleeing responsibility." Or, per the kitschy, tatty Trump brand, "cheap and ugly,...and very, very dumb."

To be fair, Never-Surrenders have their fans. "Perfect to distract my Labrador from destroying my 5th pair of Birkenstocks!" says one. Also, flat bottom is "perfect for slowly walking down ramps!" And okay for Halloween clown get-up if they're in K-Mart $4.99 bin. Others suggest Trump should stick with Nazi jack-boots, or get $14.98 high-tops at Wal-Mart, $5.98 Rustoleum gold spray paint and $1.99 little flag thingies and call it a day. There were questions: Do they come with a built-in ankle monitor? Do they cause or fix bone spurs? Can you say 'child labor'? Will he ever run out of stupid shit to slap his worthless name on? And "who in the time-altered universe is going to WEAR these monstrosities? I mean, LOOK AT THEM!!!!!!" Most vitally, "People should see what a hollow figure he is. Evil, traitorous, immoral, yes. But ultimately a sad little man." And, "Someday he’ll be scratching his brand name onto his cell wall painstakingly with a toothbrush. Then he’ll realize he forgot a letter and have to scratch it out and start over again. He’ll have time."

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