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President Trump walked, beaming, onto the stage at Turning Point USA’s student summit in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to loud applause from the attendees, as a huge image of the “Seal of the President of the United States” was projected on a screen behind him.
But there was something different about this seal. The national symbol was replaced by a two-headed eagle, and instead of arrows, in its claw was a clutch of golf clubs. The national motto — “E pluribus unum,” meaning “out of many, one” — was replaced by the Spanish phrase “45 es un títere”: “45 [designating Trump, as the 45th president] is a puppet.”
The fake seal was displayed for only a few seconds as Trump walked onstage, while the authentic one remained behind the president for his speech.
A historical symbol of empire and dominance, the double-headed eagle on the fake seal resembles the bird on the coat of arms of the Russian Federation, which is an adaptation of the emblem of the Russian empire under the czars. The flags of Serbia, Albania and Montenegro also feature an eagle with two heads.
Trump has a long and controversial relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin, discussed in detail in Robert Mueller’s report and the subject of much of the former special counsel’s testimony to Congress Wednesday.
The Washington Post first reported the mix-up, and a reader found that a website sells items displaying what appears to be the same seal. Other merchandise sold by the site called “OneTermDonnie” also makes fun of Trump. The seller’s description reads: “Dedicated to the cause of ensuring Donald Trump serves no more than one term as the President of the United States.”
Turning Point has fired the aide responsible for displaying the fake seal, the Post reported Thursday afternoon. A spokesman for the organization said he didn’t believe there was “malicious intent.” A White House spokesman said in an earlier statement to the Post that they didn’t see the altered seal before Trump went on stage.
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