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

“Zero malicious intent.”

Andrew Harnik/AP

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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.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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