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Column: ‘In Principle, yes… signing the check for hurricane Laura’

Text by Yunus Berndt

Trump signature, facsimile

The strongest hurricane in 150 years has just hit Louisiana, Texas and Haiti, leaving nearly half a million people without electricity and 200,000 without water. 45 people have died. Advised by George Bush’s failure to visit the Gulf Coast immediately after Hurricane Katrina (it took him four days), President Donald Trump thought it would be a good idea to go immediately to Lake Charles, LA and distribute autographs

On that occasion, he told a beneficiary: Here, sell this [autograph] tonight on eBay, and you’ll get $10,000. Social media users were quick to point out that the price tag for Trump’s autograph hovers around $40, and even crowning him as the “King of the US” does not make his signature worth more than $26. The most one can earn on eBay is when it appears on Barack Obama’s birth certificate ($12,000). Yet, I am not sure whether that is original. Hence, it seems Trump autographs are, at best, a marginal contribution to Louisiana disaster relief unless you could sell them for $10,000 on eBay.

You could. All you need to do is visit Donald J. Trump’s Wikipedia page and select a picture of your choice. To be sure you can freely use it, check whether it is in the public domain, usually written underneath. Download the pic.

Grab the signature file on the top right of the Wikipedia page. Then, load the photo and the signature into an image editor and merge the two. And zack! You have your own Trump facsimile autograph. The final step is to upload it on and choose a price tag. Don’t go for $10,000. That is far overvalued. Not even $26. If everyone can create their own Donald Trump autograph by merging two freely available images, how could his signature be worth more than $1?

Yet, if we manage to sell 10,000 (or more) of these fake signatures for a dollar each, we might attain $10,000 to help the people affected by Hurricane Laura. To that end, has a readily available feature: You can choose to donate 100% of the sale to a charity of your choice, and you won’t pay any fees. For instance, you could select the Louisiana Association of United Ways or any other registered non-profit you deem appropriate. Write a nice text, advertise your facsimile autograph among your friends and: truly support communities in need.

If that’s too much hassle, please check out the DJT autograph sale. So, can you sell Trump autographs for $10,000 online? In principle, yes

Author disclaimer: I am not affiliated with or the Louisiana Association of United Ways and by no means with Donald J. Trump, his organization or his campaign.

In principle, yes… it’s a monthly column dedicated to speculative political interventions. A series of short texts aiming to spark thoughts and reflections on topics at the intersection of technology and social politics.

Yunus is an author, artist and activist. He also calls himself the inventor of Peopleless Protests, a tool that enables safe democratic participation during Covid-19 lockdown measures. The concept spread around Europe and reached Australia and the Washington Post.

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