The Trump campaign has a long history of taking shit off the internet and just rolling with it, especially if it’s racist or otherwise abhorrent. Remember the “sheriff’s star?” It should not surprise you, then, to learn that Trump/Pence 2020 campaign’s newest adopted logo is extremely popular with white nationalists! What a coincidence!
The new logo appeared at the end of a campaign video Trump tweeted out Wednesday afternoon:
Brooke Binkowski, an independent journalist and former managing editor at Snopes, flagged that the symbol has been floating around the white nationalist web for years, perhaps most noticeably on VDARE, the white nationalist, virulently anti-immigrant website popular in the Trump admin’s greater orbit.
As is often the case with things that start online, the logo’s origin is a bit unclear—it appears to be a modification of a design used by a pro-Trump militia called the “Lion Guard.” It now also crops up on tons of bootleg Trump merchandise in various forms, as intellectual property rights do not seem to be a strong tenet of the MAGAsphere.
Trump’s video did, however, preserve a watermark for the account @Som3thingwicked, a MAGA meme page, on the final shot of the logo. On Twitter, the account took credit for its creation.
So is the Trump campaign consciously dog-whistling at white nationalists or just plain stupid? I’m not sure it matters—the message will be heard loud and clear for those it’s intended to reach. It’s also another example of the general miasma of the pro-Trump web, and how easily things spread to a president who truly does not care what they represent so long as they flatter his ego.