E pluribus unum ("Out of many, one") has been an American national motto since 1782. It embodies two things trumpists hate: a highbrow phrase in a dead language deployed by early American aristos in the service of classing things up by excluding people who don't read Latin; and a message of strength through unity and diversity.
Trump's agenda includes a constant, seemingly instinctive program to demoralize his opponents by trolling them with stupid shit that makes them embarrassed to share a nation, a political system, and (in the case of the whites who voted against him, or horrified Republicans) a skin-color with him. This move makes his supporters happy -- even if they're not getting coal back or forcing all the Muslims and Mexicans into concentration camps, they still know that those fucking libs are as miserable as Fox News made them over the past twenty years of lies about impending Sharia law and Soros-funded Maoist guerrillas training for the Final Conflict -- and it makes his opponents want to die. If he gets it just right, he makes those opponents so miserable they stay home and get drunk instead of putting on pussy hats and marching in the streets.
Challenge coins are a fun, vogue-ish token that has its origins in the military: the small stamped medals are given by members of one unit to people from other units, military forces, or just to civilians who have aided them in some way. Notionally, they allow a person to show their bona fide good-guy status to someone from the group that issued the challenge coins, but they're also trophies and keepsakes. (They're also used as part of a drinking game whose loser has to buy rounds for the house). I first encountered them in the infosec community, where there is a big military/civilian crossover. I'd guess that similar crossovers occurred in other forums where military and civilians mix: outdoor activities, crossfit, etc.
The Presidential challenge coin dates back to Bill Clinton and has historically borne that Latin motto. Now, Donald Trump has unveiled an idiocracy-style revamp, redesigned to his personal specifications, with his name on one side and "Make America Great Again" in place of the motto celebrating unity.
Like MAGA itself, the coin revamp (which replaces the color scheme with a "very gold" coloring that calls to mind the literal gold-plated toilets that Trump shits in) is pitched to perfectly troll anyone with an ounce of taste or decorum, from the GOP establishment to the anti-Trump left. It's something between a souvenir casino poker chip and a chocolate coin given away by a crooked used-car dealership. It's like eating KFC and Burger King in the Oval Office or dusting Air Force One with Swarovski crystals.
The RNC says it paid for the coin and plans to use them as party fundraisers.
Some ethics experts questioned the unprecedented decision to include a campaign slogan on the coins, which are often distributed to members of the military.
“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.
Aides said the coin reflects a president determined to make good on his promises to the American public. Asked why the campaign slogan was included, a White House aide replied: “That’s central to the message. I’m sure there will not be just one coin during his tenure. I’m sure the next one will say ‘Made America Great Again.’ ”
It’s ‘very gold’: The presidential coin undergoes a Trumpian makeover [David Nakamura and Lisa Rein/Washington Post]