In another display of narcissism, President Donald Trump made changes to the challenge coin. According to the Washington Post, the most notable alteration was switching “E Pluribus Unum” to “Make America Great Again.” President Trump personally requested the change and was involved in the designing process.
What Is The Challenge Coin?
Challenge coins bear an organization’s symbol, with it being interchanged by the organization’s members. There are several stories as to how the challenge coin came to fruition, but the most common story was that it originated during World War I, where volunteers from the United States filled the newly designed flying squadrons. Some of these people were wealthy, ordering medallions in solid bronze to be issued to the unit.
Challenge coins have been a mainstay in several past administrations, with President Bill Clinton displaying his set of challenge coins behind his Oval Office desk. George W. Bush received the challenge coin from a control unit during a visit to an Al Asad Airbase, and former President Barack Obama gave several challenge coins to servicemen and women.
Past challenge coins by presidents simply have their name, or some design to commemorate the United States. President Donald Trump’s coin can be interpreted as such, but it still has a layer of arrogance that can’t be ignored. The coin doesn’t even include the official presidential seal, but instead, it has the image of the White House on one side, and an eagle with its head facing right on the other.
It’s Not Even a Coin Anymore
The coin even has untraditional shape. It is ribbon-shaped, with the bottom bearing President Trump’s name. It’s also worth noting that a White House aide told the Washington Post that these coins were given to those who attended his campaign rallies and to special donors, breaking yet another tradition of challenge coin distribution.
The former Republican chairman of the Federal Election Commission added this: “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.”