There was something a little off about President Trump’s appearance at the Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit this week, and no one seems to have any answers.
During the president’s 83-minute visit to the gathering of young conservatives at the D.C. Marriott Marquis Tuesday morning, sharp-eyed observers at the Washington Post noticed an unusual piece of set design: a modified presidential seal displayed to the president’s right.
Instead of the bald eagle holding a bundle of 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in the other, the altered symbol behind Trump had two heads, resembling the double-headed bird featured on the Russian coat of arms; a wad of cash in one hand; and golf clubs in the other.
The eagle’s banner appeared altered as well. While the real deal features a scroll in the eagle’s mouth that bears the U.S. motto “E Pluribus Unum” (Latin for “Out of many, one”), the doctored seal featured the phrase “45 es un titere,” Spanish for “45 is a puppet”.
The image was featured prominently behind the president during his grand entrance at the campaign rally-like event as dozens of young conservatives and reporters snapped pictures. A second, proper seal was featured centered behind the president’s podium. Both images remained projected on stage during the president’s remarks.
So how the heck did it get there?
A spokesperson with Turning Point told the Washington Post that they had no idea who was behind the image or where it came from, but they were looking into it.
“Somewhere there was a breakdown,” the spokesman told the Washington Post. “I think it was as simple as a rushed move throwing up an image, and it was the wrong one. It was an A/V mistake. [...] It certainly wasn’t our intention.”
The Turning Point spokesperson pointed out that the audio-visual team in charge of Tuesday’s event was made up of Turning Point staffers and hotel employees. Marriott employees told the Post that their workers only provide help with equipment and organizing spaces for events like the one held Tuesday. They do not help with the gathering of images or videos for presentations.
VICE News reached out to Turning Point USA to ask if there’s been any progress on the investigation, but they had not responded as of press time.
Meanwhile, there’s one lead that seems promising: An online apparel site called Inktale features shirts, tote bags, phone cases, pillows and mugs from a retailer named OneTermDonnie. The retailer's InkTale profile says it’s “dedicated to the cause of ensuring Donald Trump serves no more than one term as the President of the United States.” Among the 19 designs listed, one called “Trump’s Presidential Seal” is identical to the symbol seen at the Turning Point Summit. Social media accounts associated with the retailer have not been updated since June 2017.
Cover: President Donald Trump takes the stage at Turning Point USA Teen Student Action Summit at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, Tuesday, July 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)