Maker of fake presidential seal behind Trump shocked by, welcomed use – Business Insider

The man who created the fake presidential seal that was displayed on a giant screen behind US President Donald Trump at a conference on Tuesday told The Washington Post that he designed it as a “goofy thing” and never thought it would get so much attention.

Charles Leazott, a former Republican who said he can’t stand Trump, told The Post that while he was delighted to see his protest image behind the president, he is now getting abuse online as a result of the seal’s newfound fame.

Trump delivered a speech to thousands of young, cheering supporters at the Turning Point USA conference in Washington, DC. No one in the audience appeared to notice that behind him was a presidential seal that featured a double-headed bald eagle — resembling the Russian national symbol — holding golf clubs instead of the arrows that appear on the actual presidential seal.

Instead of the US’s Latin motto “E pluribus unum,” the seal featured the Spanish words “45 es un titere,” meaning “45 is a puppet.”

The eagle in the altered seal also holds dollar bills instead of a branch, while hammer and sickle imagery — used in the Soviet Union’s flag — replaces the stars in the middle of the real seal.

Here’s the fake seal:

The fake presidential seal.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

And here’s the real presidential seal:

The real presidential seal.
Liaison Agency

Leazott, a graphic designer from Virginia, designed the seal in 2016 and sold it on his web store, One Term Donnie, alongside posters, hats, stickers, shirts, and posters critical of Trump’s presidency.

Leazott told The Post that he used to be a Republican and twice voted for George W. Bush but could not support Trump, calling him someone “who I despise.”

He called the seal “the most petty piece of art I have ever created” and said he never expected it to have such a large platform.

Read more: Trump delivered a speech in front of a fake presidential seal that showed a Russian imperial eagle clutching golf clubs

“I’m a graphic designer; it’s just something I tossed together,” he told The Post. “This was just a goofy thing for some people I knew. I had no idea it would blow up like this.”

He said he was inundated with messages when he woke up on Thursday.

“It’s been chaos,” he told The Post. “This is not what I expected when I woke up today.”

Trump speaking in New Hampshire from a podium featuring the real presidential seal.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Leazott told The Post he had seen a lot of support, but also abuse, saying that “the worst has been Facebook.”

“Holy crap at the amount of vile, hateful Facebook messages,” he said. “It’s apparently a personal affront to some people.”

But Leazott has embraced his work’s newfound fame, making the image of Trump with his seal the background on his computer, The Post said. He told the newspaper that that demand for his products had increased so much that he’d started working with a fulfillment center.

Leazott said that whoever put the graphic behind Trump “is my absolute hero.”

The Russian national symbol, a double-headed eagle, covered by snow in Moscow.
Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

It remains unclear who put the seal behind the president and why they did it.

A spokesman for Turning Point USA told The Post that it had identified the person responsible and “let the individual go.”

The spokesman said the incident was a mistake due to a last-minute search for an image of the seal. “I don’t think it was malicious intent, but nevertheless,” he said.

But Leazott told The Post it had to have been deliberate. He described Turning Point USA’s account as “a load of crap,” as his image would be hard to find.

“You have to look for this,” he said. “There’s no way this was an accident is all I’m saying.”


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