The meeting may be off, but the sale is on. Despite a planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un having apparently collapsed on Thursday, the White House Gift Shop is still selling Trump and Kim Jong-un summit commemorative coins — and at a discount, to boot!
If you didn't catch this particular bit of news, you're definitely missing out. Basically, for months now, the White House has been talking about an upcoming meeting between President Donald Trump and Kim, the leader of North Korea, with the issue of North Korea's nuclear arsenal and missile tests ostensibly on the table. Trump, for his part, even publicly suggested he might win a Nobel Prize thanks to his involvement in the talks, which now looks just a little bit premature.
Trump announced Thursday that the summit had been called off, meaning the shiny set of commemorative coins that were minted ― to preemptively celebrate the meeting ― may end up referencing an event that never actually happens. But make no mistake, that hasn't stopped the White House gift shop from moving forward; it's still offering the coins for sale online, although it is apparently offering refunds to anyone who wants them, "if summit does not occur."
The statement on the gift shop website claims, however, that "virtually all customers have asked us to fulfill this unique heirloom of political history regardless of outcome."
It's not exactly hard to see why someone would want the coin anyway, even if a meeting between the two leaders looks unlikely to happen ― if the summit never comes to pass, that just makes the coin an even greater piece of peculiar political memorabilia. An instant conversation starter, as well as something of a punchline.
For the record, if you're interested in nabbing one of these coins for yourself, they're currently going at a "Deal of the Day" price of $19.95, down from the $24.95 price tag that was in effect back when, you know, the coin was representing an event that actually appeared to be happening.
The White House clearly had high hopes for the summit, underscored by Trump making reference to the Nobel Prize earlier this month. A slew of Republican lawmakers have already nominated Trump to receive the international award, too, although that's not in itself indicative of his chances of winning.
In short, the collapse of the planned summit is something of a public relations snafu for the White House, and it's also a disappointing outcome for proponents of direct, high-level diplomatic talks between the leaders of North Korea and the United States.
It's not impossible that South Korea and North Korea could still engage in diplomacy, to be clear, nor that the United States could reach new terms to facilitate talks again. But for the time being, it appears as if the much-ballyhooed meeting between Trump and Kim is not going to happen.
But never fear! Even though the historic summit is apparently not going to occur, despite months of press coverage and White House statements about it, there's at least one consolation prize you can still have: your very own coin commemorating the now-defunct peace talks, featuring Kim and Trump's profiles laid against the colors of their nations' respective flags.
And at a 20 percent discount, too! Who knows, maybe these things will escalate in value someday ― if a summit ultimately does happen, then the coins will have newfound relevance. And if they don't, each one will still be a useful reminder of the perils of counting your chickens before they're hatched. Or in this case, counting your headline-grabbing diplomatic summits before they're set in stone.