Donald Trump is coming under fire after tweeting a campaign video that included a logo that was created and promoted by an avowed white supremacist, anti-immigrant group.
The president shared the campaign video on Wednesday, praising his accomplishments through two years in office. But as Haaretz noted, the conclusion of the video has sparked controversy for the inclusion of a logo that appeared to depict Trump as a lion. As the report noted, former Snopes managing editor Brooke Binkowski pointed out that the logo had been promoted in 2016 by VDARE, a white supremacist group and anti-immigrant website.
The source of the logo was discovered by Mediaite, finding that it was created by a self-described Dutch nationalist who, in 2015, thanked Donald Trump for his support. The media outlet had reported about an online group that dubbed itself the “Lion Guard” that monitored “anti-MAGA” (for Make America Great Again, the campaign slogan for Donald Trump) activity online. As Mediaite noted, the name and inspiration for their logo came from a quote from Benito Mussolini that Donald Trump retweeted, saying, “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”
The report noted that there was no evidence that the Trump campaign purposely included the logo as a nod to the white supremacist groups, whether the campaign staff that put together the video was aware of the history behind the logo, or whether Trump himself had any knowledge of it. But the Trump campaign has frequently been accused of making dog whistles to racist groups, including a string of retweets from openly racist groups and Twitter accounts during the 2016 campaign and a statement that there were “very fine people” among the white supremacist groups protesting the removal of Confederate statues in Charlottesville.
This even earned Trump some criticism from the right. Back in 2015, he retweeted a graphic claiming to show “black crime” statistics, but was instead filled with fabricated numbers that appeared to be aimed at showing black people as violent. Raw Story traced the origin of the image, noting that it was created by an avowed white supremacist. After Trump tweeted the image, he was pressed by Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, but refused to apologize. Trump did not delete the tweet, though the person who had originally tweeted it later deleted their account.
Donald Trump’s refusal to condemn white supremacists has come under fire, with critics saying that Trump is emboldening these groups and contributing to acts of terrorism committed by extremists groups.