President Donald Trump spoke to an adoring crowd of young Republican activists in Washington D.C. on Tuesday at an event hosted by Turning Point USA. But if you take a close look at the presidential seal that appeared behind the president, you’ll notice something peculiar. That’s not actually the presidential seal—it’s been photoshopped.
The image that was projected behind President Trump on July 24 has a number of alterations, including a two-headed eagle that’s carrying golf clubs in one talon and cash in another. The writing above the eagle is supposed to read “E Pluribus Unum,” which is Latin for “out of many, one.” But the photoshopped creation that appeared behind Trump reads “45 es un titere,” which is Spanish for “45 is a puppet.”
Trump, the 45th president, has long been accused of being a puppet of the Russian government and famously said, “no puppet, no puppet, you’re the puppet” during a presidential debate in 2016 with Hillary Clinton. The Trump campaign repeatedly welcomed help from the Russian government in the lead up to the 2016 election and the president was even trying to build a Trump Tower in Moscow, according to the Mueller Report.
The alterations to the presidential seal were first revealed by the Washington Post, which notes that the two-headed eagle bears a striking resemblance to Russia’s coat of arms. Judging by photos from the event, the image was pixelated enough that some of the details from the image, like the Soviet hammer and sickle on the flag, could not be clearly distinguished by the crowd.
It’s unclear who first created the photoshopped image, but it appears on free image sites like Free PNG Library and other Clip Art hosting pages. Someone is even selling the doctored logo on t-shirts and iPhone cases at the print-on-demand service Inktale. The user who sells those items, OneTermDonnie, also sells bumper stickers that read “Chump” made to look like the Trump logo.
Could this have been an innocent mistake? Did someone from Turning Point USA just search Google Images for “presidential seal” and grab something that was photoshopped? That’s certainly a possibility, though when Gizmodo tried to replicate this potential mistake we didn’t see the photoshopped version in any of Google’s top search results. It’s tough to say.
President Trump, an unrepentant racist and threat to U.S. national security, has previously gotten into hot water over his team’s use of modern image manipulation tools. As Gizmodo first reported back in January, the Trump campaign has altered the president’s appearance to make him look much more lean than he is in real life. The manipulations, which were published to Facebook and Instagram, also made the president’s fingers appear longer. The Trump campaign has also been caught using stock video of “supporters” giving testimonials from people who supposedly left the Democratic Party for Trump.
As the Washington Post notes, the image behind Trump at Tuesday’s rally was switched to the real presidential seal for the majority of his talk. It’s not clear if someone noticed the “mistake” or if that was the plan all along. Charlie Kirk, the head of Turning Point USA, has so far declined to address the fake image scandal on his Twitter account.
“It was a last-minute A/V mistake—and I can’t figure out where the breakdown was,” an unnamed spokesperson for Turning Point USA told the Post. “But it was a last minute throw-up, and that’s all it was.”
A last minute throw-up, indeed.
The president is able to live in a comfortable little bubble while he inflicts an enormous amount of pain on his fellow Americans. Watching the president get humiliated with Photoshop is a relatively small victory these days, considering that U.S. citizens are getting tortured and starved in American concentration camps and it barely makes the evening news. But we’ll take what we can get.
The president is a dangerous clown who deserves all the scorn that can possibly be heaped upon him while kids die in American cages.
Update, 1:05 pm ET: CNN is now reporting that someone from Turning Point USA’s audio-visual team has been fired. The sources for the CNN story are all unnamed, though the leader of the group is Charlie Kirk, who gets very touchy when people ask him how much he makes at the non-profit organisation.
The individual responsible, a member of TPUSA’s AV team, was let go in the wake of the incident. According to a source familiar with the event, the incident was just a terrible Google search mistake. TPUSA had event branding on the screens, but during a run through ahead of Trump’s remarks a few hours before the event, the team was told they had to change the branding to a presidential seal, prompting a search for a high quality image.
“One of our video team members did a Google Image search for a high-res png (file) presidential seal,” a source familiar with the incident said, adding that the individual “did the search and with the pressure of the event, didn’t notice that it is a doctored seal.”
Turning Point USA was previously best known as the group that encouraged college students to dress up in diapers to own the libs. That went about as well as you’d expect. And Turning Point USA’s Florida International University chapter also famously shared neo-Nazi memes, joked about rape, and talked about deporting people.
Sounds like a good group of people all around. It’s fantastic that the president went to speak in front of them.