A photo of two Donald Trump supporters at a Trump rally in Ohio on Saturday went viral thanks to the sentiment expressed on the identical T-shirts worn by both men, as the Inquisitr reported on Sunday. The message on their shirts — in a photo taken by Jeremy Pelzer of Cleveland.com — was as simple as it was alarming: “I’d Rather Be A Russian Than A Democrat.”
One Twitter post showing the photo, by Bloomberg News opinion columnist Noah Smith, was retweeted more than 10,000 times in 48 hours. But not only did the photo reach Russia itself, somehow within what appeared to be less than 24 hours after the photo appeared, a Russian state TV talk show host had his hands on the shirt itself, as Russia expert and investigative reporter Julia Davis, who monitors Russian government television broadcasts, noted on her own Twitter account.
Davis quoted the political talk show host as saying, “Look, these T-shirts are now being sold in the United States and are in high demand in the Republican camp. It says, ‘I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.’ Note how the trends change with the times.”
— Jeremy Pelzer (@jpelzer) August 5, 2018
But how did the shirt somehow make its way to Russia literally overnight? According to Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Kesling, who said on Twitter that he interviewed the men — identified by Pelzer as James Alicie and Richard M. Birchfield — one of the two said that he had created the shirt and printed it himself.
The fact-checking site Snopes, however, said that it had found the “Rather Be A Russian” slogan “on a variety of products offered for sale by several different retailers.” Snopes published a photo of the same slogan and design appearing on the shirts worn by Alicie and Birchfield printed on several different styles of shirt.
Even if the host on the state-run Russia-1 TV network had ordered the shirt from an online retailer, however, it would appear that shipping from the United States to Russia should have taken more than a single day. Davis wondered, perhaps sarcastically, if the shirt had been brought over by Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul who, Vanity Fair reported, made a private trip to Moscow on Monday to meet with Russian government officials
How did they get that T-shirt so quickly? Is it on loan from Rand Paul, or are they being manufactured in Russia?https://t.co/QvQMtlJgqI
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) August 6, 2018
Davis later reported that the Russian TV personalities, apparently aware that American media outlets were trying to figure out how the shirt made its way to Russia, taunted the United States media over the shirt mystery.
— Julia Davis (@JuliaDavisNews) August 7, 2018
Davis also noted that “nothing they say (on Russian state TV) should be taken at face value without credible independent corroboration.”