No one's sure how a fake presidential seal featuring a Russian symbol and golf clubs got projected behind Trump

Donald Trump
(Image credit: Nicholas Kamm / Getty Images)

What's wrong with this picture?

President Trump on Tuesday delivered a speech at a summit for the conservative nonprofit Turning Point USA, taking the stage after a video package which concluded with the U.S. presidential seal being projected on screen. But wait a second — that's not the presidential seal.

Embed from Getty Images//

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Not much note was taken of this at the time, but as The Washington Post points out, the image behind Trump was actually a parody of the presidential seal made to resemble Russia's coat of arms, and as if that weren't enough, the two-headed eagle in the image also seems to be holding golf clubs.

So what happened here? The Post tracked down the image to an online store, and a high-definition version makes the golf clubs clearer and shows it also seems to feature the words "45 is a puppet" in Spanish where "E pluribus unum" would normally be. But as to how it ended up projected behind Trump, a White House spokesperson had no answers, and a Turning Point USA spokesperson said they "can't figure out who did it yet" while suggesting it may have been as "simple as a rushed move throwing up an image, and it was the wrong one."

Whether it was an intentional bit of trolling or a mistake, though, former White House chief ethics lawyer Richard Painter told the Post it's "careless" that the White House had no prior knowledge of what images would be projected on the screen behind Trump, adding that "someone is going to be getting in trouble, but they got one heck of a good laugh out of it."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.