Donald Trump’s much-anticipated CPAC speech on Friday was met with an unusual sight — a group of his supporters waiving Russian flags with the name TRUMP emblazoned on them.
And it appears to be a well-timed prank from a political opponent.
The president spoke on Friday morning at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, where he whipped the crowd into a frenzy with a speech that tore into his political opponents and the so-called “fake news.” But there was also a bizarre moment when a group of Trump supporters waived what appeared to be flags representing Russia.
As Raw Story reported, the red, white, and blue flags were quickly confiscated by CPAC staff.
‘The trouble began when some attendees took out pro-Trump flags to wave during the president’s speech that also happened to have the same white-blue-and-red striped pattern as Russia’s official flag,” the report noted. “Reporter Peter Hamby notes that CPAC staffers quickly realized that its attendees were waving Russian flags, and moved to confiscate them.”
Crowd at CPAC waving these little pro-Trump flags that look exactly like the Russian flag. Staffers quickly come around to confiscate them. pic.twitter.com/YhPpkwFCNc
— Peter Hamby (@PeterHamby) February 24, 2017
It was not immediately clear whether the Russian flags waved during Donald Trump’s CPAC speech were and honest mistake, an act of sabotage from a political opponent, or some kind of protest against the president’s controversial ties to Russia.
But reports at CPAC indicated that it appeared to be a prank pulled off by someone within conference. Reporters noted that someone started handing out the tiny Russian flags as soon as Trump began to speak, and that others around assumed it was a staffer.
It was not, and as soon as officials within the conference realized that the flags were Russian, they moved quickly to remove them from the floor. But not before many journalists attending the conference got pictures of the Trump-supporting crowed waving flags representing Russia.
— Maya Shwayder (@MayaErgas) February 24, 2017
The prank appeared to be a hit at Trump’s growing Russia scandal. Before Trump’s inauguration in January, a dossier emerged alleging that Trump’s campaign had colluded with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign to release emails from the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign chief, John Podesta, in an effort to damage Clinton politically.
The dossier, which remains largely unverified, also alleged that Russian officials had been working for years to cultivate Donald Trump as a presidential candidate, using a mix of bribes to Trump and collection of potentially damaging material to blackmail him.
Another report earlier this month claimed that Trump’s top campaign officials were in frequent contact with Russian officials during the campaign, though the exact nature of the discussions was not reported.
Just this week, a report emerged that White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus asked the FBI to quash reports that they are investigating the Russian connections, which the FBI denied. As CNN reported, the request violated rules against the White House attempting to influence FBI investigations.
Trump blasted the report and the unnamed sources that leaked the information.
In his CPAC speech on Friday, Trump again took aim at unnamed sources leaking information from within the White House.
“I’m against the people that make up stories and make up sources,” Trump said (via ABC News). “They shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name. Let their name be put out there.”
Officials did not say who was responsible for handing out Russian flags at Donald Trump’s CPAC speech on Friday.
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]