The tweaked image flashed up on a screen behind the president as he spoke to a summit hosted by the conservative group Turning Point USA in Washington earlier this week.
The normally solitary bald eagle was seen with two heads, made to resemble the two-headed bird on the official Russian coat of arms in a mocking nod to Mr Trump’s woes with investigations into Moscow’s election meddling.
The symbolic bird also showed up clutching a bag of golf clubs – evidently a joke about the president’s fondness for spending so much time on the links.
Both the White House and Turning Point USA said they were unaware of why or how the altered image appeared on the screen.
A spokesman for Turning Point USA told The Washington Post it was a “last-minute A/V [audio/visual] mistake” after the newspaper first highlighted the doctored seal.
“I can’t figure out who did it yet. I don’t know where they got the image from,” he added, explaining they organisation was still try to determine who was responsible and where they got the image from.
— Olga Lautman (@olgaNYC1211)July 25, 2019
Richard Painter, who served as the George W Bush administration’s chief White House ethics lawyer, told the Post: “To let someone project something on the screen that isn’t controlled by the White House is pretty stupid.”
He added: “Someone is going to be getting in trouble, but they got one heck of a good laugh out of it.”
Mr Painter explained that First Amendment freedom of expression rights allowed people to parody the official presidential seal.
Kathleen Clark, legal professor at Washington University, said: “Was someone at Turning Point trolling Trump? I just think Putin would probably approve.”