Specially minted “challenge coins” have been a tradition in the White House for nearly 20 years now. These custom designed medallions began as a military tradition and often feature service insignia and mottos appropriate for whatever event or membership that the organization commissioning the commemorative coin was celebrating.
Now, thirty-three days into a government shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of federal employees either furloughed from their jobs or continuing to work without pay, CNN’s Jake Tapper has revealed that President Trump’s own Secret Service agents have created special challenge coins that mock their boss’s shutdown and the empty pay envelopes they’ve been getting since the president started his childish hissy fit to extort $5 billion from taxpayers for his border wall.
Photos of special challenge coins being distributed among Secret Service personnel and their families, expressing frustration at the requirement they work without pay because of the government shutdown pic.twitter.com/0Toz1zpiIV
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) January 23, 2019
Emblazoned with the words “essential personnel,” the designation given to those lucky government employees who have to work without pay until the shutdown ends. the first coin features an American flag background with a Secret Service badge covered with a punning slogan reading “shut happens.”
The second coin that Tapper posted a photo of features engraved versions of the White House and the Capitol building with a replica of a neon sign reading both “open” and “closed” with only the latter word appearing to be illuminated.
The outer ring of the second coin Features the encouraging slogan “Don’t worry, you’ll get backpay” and the dates 2018-2019 to emphasize just how long this shut down has stretched — into the longest in history.
While “shut” has certainly happened throughout the Trump administration, the ability of Secret Service members and the other “essential employees” of the federal government to continue to work without pay is limited by each individual’s savings and outside financial resources.
Apparently, some entrepreneurial member of the Secret Service has enough spare cash stashed away to lay out the couple of bucks each coin costs when minted in bulk, despite the shutdown. Perhaps they were hoping that the coins would appreciate in value as collector’s items to be sold if the shutdown continues much longer.
Hopefully, they won’t simply gain value because the shutdown winds up continuing into 2020 and the 2018-2019 dating on the coins makes them a prized rarity.
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Original reporting by Bob Brigham at RawStory.