The Screw-Up Behind the Hilarious Presidential Seal Fiasco, Explained

“Zero malicious intent.”

Andrew Harnik/AP

At first glance, it looks just like the official seal of the President of the United States.

But look closer. The eagle’s left talon clutches not arrows, but a bundle of golf clubs. Remember the olive branch that is traditionally held in the right talon? Now it’s a wad of cash. And wait. Why does the eagle have two heads instead of one? Turns out this is exactly the way the eagle in Russia’s coat of arms looks, a not-so-subtle nod to the president’s deep ties to that country. In case that wasn’t blatant enough, instead of “E pluribus unum,” the eagle’s banner reads “45 es un títere,” Spanish for “Trump is a puppet.”

The Washington Post reported that apparently no one noticed when Trump got on stage in front of this altered version of the presidential seal on Tuesday at the Teen Student Action Summit of Turning Point USA, a conservative youth organization. The image of Trump before the fake seal has been widely circulated online, with #45IsAPuppet trending on Twitter.

A representative from Turning Point, which prepared the projected slideshow, told CNN that a member of its AV team had found the fake seal on Google Images and mistakenly took it for the official one, but there was “zero malicious intent.” Still, Turning Point told The Post, the person responsible was fired.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot. That's what Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein tackles in her annual December column—"Billionaires Are Not the Answer"—about the state of journalism and our plans for the year ahead.

We can't afford to let independent reporting depend on the goodwill of the superrich: Please help Mother Jones build an alternative to oligarchy that is funded by and answerable to its readers. Please join us with a tax-deductible, year-end donation so we can keep going after the big stories without fear, favor, or false equivalency.

THE BIG QUESTION...

as we head into 2020 is whether politics and media will be a billionaires’ game, or a playing field where the rest of us have a shot.

Please read our annual column about the state of journalism and Mother Jones' plans for the year ahead, and help us build an alternative to oligarchy by supporting our people-powered journalism with a year-end gift today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.