Doctored Seal Behind Trump Appears to Read, '45 Is a Puppet'

The employee responsible has been fired, conservative organization says
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 25, 2019 1:05 PM CDT
Trump Speaks in Front of Doctored Presidential Seal
President Donald Trump arrives to speak, with an altered presidential seal behind him, at Turning Point USA's Teen Student Action Summit 2019, Tuesday, July 23, 2019, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Trump spoke at a student activist conference Tuesday with what appeared to be two presidential seals on a screen behind him. Except only one was the official seal. The other was a doctored image that looked close to the real one, the Washington Post reports. The image was captured on quite a few photos and videos of the event, including one video tweeted out by the president himself. The Post and USA Today round up and explain the elements of the altered seal:

  • The eagle has two heads instead of one, and bears a resemblance to the Russian coat of arms. The symbol is "historically tied to empire and dominance," per the Post. USAT sees this as a possible "reference to Trump's sometimes-controversial relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin."
  • The logo for Trump's golf course and resort in Scotland also includes a two-headed eagle, and the eagle on the fake presidential seal appears to be holding a set of golf clubs rather than the 13 arrows seen on the real seal. Trump's well-known golf habit has reportedly cost taxpayers more than $100 million.

  • Instead of "E pluribus unum," as the scroll above the eagle on the real seal reads, the fake seal's scroll appears to bear the text, "45 es un titere." As USAT notes, that "appears to translate from Spanish to mean '45 is a puppet.'" Trump is the 45th president of the United States.
An audiovisual aide for Turning Point USA, the conservative advocacy organization that hosted the conference, was fired after the incident, CNN reports. A Post reader pointed out this website selling merchandise bearing the fake seal from a seller named "OneTermDonnie," and a source familiar with the incident tells CNN what happened: "One of our video team members did a Google Image search for a high-res png (file) presidential seal." The employee "did the search and with the pressure of the event, didn't notice that it is a doctored seal." Turning Point has apologized for the incident: "We're sorry for the mix-up and meant no disrespect to the White House or the President or the advance team." (More President Trump stories.)

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