Heads were rolling after President Donald Trump seemed to be trolled onstage in front of a conservative youth rally on Tuesday.
There was something off about the presidential seal displayed behind Trump for the majority of his 83-minute visit to the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit, but no one could put a finger on it until some eagle-eyed journalists at The Washington Post figured it out.
Rather than the traditional bald eagle holding a bundle of 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other, the doctored seal had an eagle with two heads, resembling the double-headed bird featured on the Russian coat of arms; a claw full of cash in one hand; and golf clubs in the other. The banner above the eagle that normally reads “E Pluribus Unum,” which is Latin for “Out of many, one,” was changed to “45 es un titere,” which is Spanish for “45 is a puppet.”
The altered seal that spoofed the president for his love of golf, his desire for money and his complicated relationship with Russia went unnoticed until Wednesday.
TPUSA has since apologized for the doctored seal and said they have fired an audiovisual aide from the conservative group.
A source within the group told CNN there was “zero malicious intent” behind the image.
An aide for conservative student group Turning Point USA was fired after Trump appeared on a stage in front of a parody image of the presidential seal: https://t.co/yufJxTT5q4 pic.twitter.com/7XODYgKd4p
— Jeffrey Guterman (@JeffreyGuterman) July 25, 2019
“We’re sorry for the mix-up and meant no disrespect to the White House or the president or the advance team,” the source said.
A Turning Point spokesperson pointed out on Wednesday that their AV team was made up of the group’s staff members and some hotel employees. Marriott employees told The Washington Post that their hotels only give technical support and help to organize event spaces, but they don’t help create or pull elements for any presentations.
According to CNN, the source familiar with the event said that the placement of the doctored seal was a terrible Google search mistake. TPUSA originally had their own logos splashed across the event’s screens, but during a rehearsal before the president’s speech, the AV team was told to swap their branding with a presidential seal. This prompted the erroneous search for a high-resolution image.
“One of our video team members did a Google Image search for a high-res png (file) presidential seal,” the source told CNN.
They said the now-fired staffer “did the search and with the pressure of the event, didn’t notice that it is a doctored seal.”
“We never saw the seal in question before it appeared in the video. For anything further, you would need to contact Turning Point — it was their event,” a White House official told CNN.
Another source suggested to CNN that Trump’s advance team, the team responsible for all details to run smoothly before an official visit, dropped the ball.
“Ultimately, both TPUSA and White House advance are at fault. TPUSA and their production crew were responsible for putting the wrong graphic up. But the advance office should have provided the official seal and/or approved everything that was put out,” said the source.