The Trump administration took some undeserved heat Wednesday after Bernie Sanders claimed it had released $100 commemorative COVID-19 coins. "If the White House Gift Shop is going to produce $100 COVID-19 coins, Trump can sure as hell utilize the Defense Production Act to manufacture the gloves, gowns, and masks our medical workers desperately need," Sanders tweeted, linking to a Daily Beast report. The report mentioned, however, that WhiteHouseGiftShop.com, which has the White House logo at the top of its page, is a privately run store. Talking Points Memo dug into the shop's origins in 2018 and determined it's "a private for profit company which has no connection to the White House or the Secret Service or any other government entity, despite that fact that it seems to go to some lengths to give the impression that it does."
Other outlets seemed unaware of the fact. "The White House has elected to commemorate this historic time of the coronavirus pandemic with a coin that's on sale and ready to ship by summer," reported the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Various social media users saw the coin as in bad taste, whether or not it came from the White House. One side features a virus spore over a world map. "Together we fought the UNSEEN enemy," it reads in part. The other side features a White House podium and the names of the coronavirus task force members. The White House Gift Shop, which also sold coins commemorating the Space Force and Trump's 2018 summit with Kim Jong Un, says 100% of profits will go to "five major COVID-19 research hospitals." (Read more commemorative coin stories.)