Washington: Breaking with tradition, US President Donald Trump has made drastic changes to the presidential “challenge coin”.
The most notable change is the replacement of the national motto, “E pluribus unum” — a Latin phrase that means “Out of many, one” — with Trump’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”, the Washington Post reported.
Trump was reportedly personally involved with designing the coin. Trump’s “un-traditional” coin does not include the presidential seal, but instead an image of the White House and an American flag on one side, and an image of an eagle with its head facing right on the other. The 13 arrows representing the original states have disappeared.
In addition to his signature, Trump’s name appears three times on the coin, which is thicker than those made for past Presidents. The coin is gold, compared to the traditional copper and silver.
It is designed to literally stand on its own and also features a gold-plated, ribbon-shaped banner bearing Trump’s name in capital letters that doubles as a rocking-horse-style base. The White House offered conflicting accounts of which funds were used to purchase the coins, with one aide saying they were paid for by the White House and a second aide later saying that the Republican National Committee (RNC) was covering the expense.
An RNC spokeswoman confirmed later that the party was paying for the coins.
“They’re going to be used in ways they haven’t been in the past,” said the second White House aide, adding that they may be distributed at campaign rallies and to donors.
The commemorative coins stem from the military tradition of exchanging coins covertly through a handshake. US Presidents give them to troops, visitors and other members of the public. The coins have become collector’s items and are sometimes sold for hundreds of dollars.
“For the Commander-in-Chief to give a political token with a campaign slogan on it to military officers would violate the important principle of separating the military from politics, as well as diminishing the tradition of the coin,” said Trevor Potter, a Republican former chairman of the Federal Election Commission.