Well, this is embarrassing. During a July 23 student summit hosted by conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA, President Donald Trump spent more than an hour praising his own administration and criticizing progressive lawmakers. Nothing about Trump's speech at Turning Point USA's event was unusual; in fact, it was rather similar to those he has delivered during his campaign rallies. What was unusual, however, was the presidential seal projected onto the screen behind the president when he walked on stage. Instead of sticking to the official seal of the president of the United States, Trump's speech featured a fake presidential seal that appeared to reference Russia, not to mention mock Trump himself.
Before Trump took the stage at the summit, attendees viewed a 12-minute video illustrating Trump's rise to the presidency. Then, Trump's name flashed across the screen, and the president arrived to address the crowd. At first glance, the image projected onto the screen at the left of the stage as Trump entered looked like the official presidential seal, but a closer look revealed otherwise.
For one thing, the eagle on the seal had two heads instead of one, The Washington Post reported, making it look similar to the Russian coat of arms. A similar two-headed bird also appears on the Serbian, Albanian, and Montenegrin flags. Then, instead of holding an olive branch and 13 arrows, as it does in the official seal, the eagle in the doctored image appeared to be holding cash in one talon and 13 golf clubs in the other, in an apparent attempt to mock how often Trump goes golfing. The eagle's shield was also modified to feature the hammer and sickle, a communist symbol that The Guardian reported was gradually adopted after the Russian Revolution. Finally, the banner above the eagle in the parody image read "45 es un títere," which translates to "45 is a puppet" in Spanish. The banner on the real presidential seal contains the official U.S. motto — "E pluribus unum," which means "Out of many, one." Altogether, the doctored seal seemed to imply that Trump has inexplicably close ties to Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, not to mention the changed-up motto.
In a Fox News video of the event posted to YouTube, the doctored logo is visible at the left side of the stage as the president enters. At the center of the stage, the real presidential seal is superimposed with Trump's name, before both appear to be replaced with Turning Point USA logos for the remainder of Trump's speech.
In response to a request for comment from Elite Daily, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said that "we never saw the seal in question before it appeared in the video." Deere then directed Elite Daily to contact Turning Point USA for any further inquiries. At the time of publication, Turning Point USA had not responded to a request for comment from Elite Daily. According to The Washington Post, neither Turning Point USA nor the White House knows who created the image or how it got onto the screen. A spokesman for Turning Point USA reportedly told The Washington Post that the fake seal was probably "a last-minute A/V mistake."
The doctored seal that appeared at Tuesday's event closely resembles one that appears on merchandise sold on an online store by a retailer called "OneTermDonnie," The Washington Post pointed out. OneTermDonnie sells tank tops, sweatshirts, mugs, and more that feature a similar parody seal, all the way down to the golf clubs and the "45 is a puppet" banner.
Although the parody seal has gotten a great deal of attention on social media, the official presidential seal wasn't completely absent from Trump's appearance at the Turning Point USA summit. Besides the official seal was centered behind his name, Trump's lectern during the speech also prominently featured the official seal.
However, the parody seal does have social media users wondering — who is going to end up paying the consequences for this supposed mistake? Whoever is behind this, at least they must have gotten a good laugh out of it.