John Oliver Takes Shots at Donald Trump’s “Cash Grabs,” From Mugshot T-Shirts to Truth Social Stock

John Oliver took shots at Donald Trump’s “cash grabs,” including mugshot T-shirts (which read “Not Guilty”), branded cologne, a Bible, mini speakers with Trump’s likeness, and gold-colored earpods and sneakers, on Sunday’s edition of Last Week Tonight.

The HBO late night host started the segment by noting that Trump has “had a rough run in the courts lately. Between the E. Jean Carroll defamation judgment and New York State’s fraud case, he’s on the hook for over half a billion dollars, but even that doesn’t capture the full extent of the financial damage. Apparently since leaving office, he spent more than $100 million on legal bills alone, which averages more than $90,000 a day, none of it paid for with his own money,” Oliver added, citing a New York Times report. “In fact, a lot has come from his supporters because he’s repeatedly used his legal troubles as a pretext to ask for donations, including this plea on Tuesday.”

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Oliver then showed a video, which appeared to have low production value, of Trump saying to his supporters: “We’re fighting. We’re winning. You see what’s going on. So whatever you can do to help financially would be fantastic, because we have to beat it, if it’s $5 or $10 or $100, whatever you can do.”

Replied Oliver: “That is a man who talks nonstop about how he’s one of the richest men on Earth, begging strangers for money in a hostage video that looks like it was filmed in a house haunted by the world’s tackiest ghosts.”

Oliver then noted the aforementioned products that Trump is selling to raise money, including the “Trump mini speaker,” which bears the Republican presidential candidate’s likeness (“and I assume is way too loud and never dies,” Oliver quipped) and the gold Trump earbuds case, “which does solve a pretty common issue. You know how you can never tell which Airpods are yours and which are your friend’s, because all the cases look the same? Well, if you get these, you lose all your friends instantly — problem solved.”

Oliver went on to note that those products aren’t likely to bring in the half a billion dollars that Trump needs to raise.

“What might, though, is a development that took place this week regarding his social media site, Truth Social,” Oliver noted. “It was created to basically be a right-wing version of Twitter before Twitter essentially became that itself.”

Oliver argued that the platform is a “ripoff” of Twitter (now X), where users have profiles and can follow one another. The platform also allows users to post “truths” and “retruths” and features ads that are called “sponsored truths.”

“That is just a deeply dystopian phrase,” Oliver said. “It sounds like something George Orwell typed into the first draft of 1984 before thinking, ‘That’s a little on the nose.'”

Truth Social is owned by TMTG (Trump Media and Technology Group), which started to be publicly traded this past week under the ticker DJT. On Tuesday, the first day of trading, the stock surged 56 percent to $78 and ended the day at $57.99. It currently has a market capitalization of about $8 billion.

“But that value is utterly divorced from the underlying business, which is a mess,” Oliver said, noting that two of the people involved in the creation of the platform, Wes Moss and Andy Litinsky, were both fired from Trump’s former reality competition show The Apprentice.

“In fact, when Trump got rid of [Litinsky], he made it abundantly clear how little he thought of him,” Oliver said, showing a clip of Trump telling the contestant: “Andy, you’re just being pounded on. You’re being out-debated. I just don’t want somebody running one of my companies that’s gonna get beaten up so badly. You’re fired.”

Oliver pointed out that the challenge Litinsky was fired for involved designing a new Pepsi bottle. The design in question featured what looked like a globe at the top and bottom being cinched in the middle by the Pepsi wrapper.

“It looks like a globe wearing a girdle,” Oliver quipped. “It looks like a trophy you win at the geography bee. It is the worst idea Pepsi has ever been associated with, and I’ll remind you they had a commercial where Kendall Jenner used Pepsi to solve racism.”

Both Moss and Litinsky have since been pushed out of the company and sued Trump.

Oliver also pointed out that the platform does run ads, but not from major sponsors.

“There have been ads for a kids’ guide to fighting socialism, anti-woke life insurance, Ivermectin, the official pillow of storming the Capitol and this bear, who recently lost custody of the twins,” he joked. “And one of the reasons they can’t get bigger advertisers may be because there just aren’t that many people on the platform to advertise to.”

He cited data estimating that Truth Social has just under half a million monthly active users in the U.S on iPhones and Android devices, compared to 75 million users on X and 142 million users on Facebook.

“But even that number is shrinking, as its monthly active users are less than half what they were a year ago,” he added of Truth Social’s numbers. “And yet its stock is trading incredibly high because Trump supporters believe buying it is a way to simultaneously own the libs, give Trump money and, they’d argue, make a profit themselves.”

Oliver argued that is basically a meme stock now, with its price rising based on the same principle behind meme stocks like GameStop or AMC Theatres.

“If enough investors buy shares, they can drive the price up and everyone can somehow get out before the bubble burst,” he said. “But the GameStop movement was at least nominally about wresting financial power away from shitty rich arseholes and restoring it to the little guy, whereas this movement is about funneling the little guy’s money directly to the shittiest rich arsehole there is.”

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