Former Republican made fake presidential seal shown behind Trump
A former Republican voter from Virginia is the man who made a parody image of the presidential seal that was shown behind President Donald Trump at a conservative teen summit, according to The Washington Post.
Graphic designer Charles Leazott, 46, created the fake presidential seal that features a two-headed eagle — lifted from the Russian Federation coat of arms — clutching a set of golf clubs in its talons, according to the Post.
“This is the most petty piece of art I have ever created,” Leazott told the Post.
Leazott, who dislikes Trump and says he voted twice for George W. Bush, created the fake seal after the 2016 election as “just a goofy thing for some people I knew,” the Post reported.
Trump spoke on Tuesday at a summit for conservative students hosted by the group Turning Point USA, and for a brief moment, the President appeared before the doctored seal evoking imagery of the Russian coat of arms on stage.
Trump’s relationship with Russia has cast somewhat of a pall over his presidency.
Former special counsel Robert Mueller condemned efforts by the Trump campaign to seek help from Russians in 2016, but the investigation did not establish a conspiracy between Trump’s campaign and the Kremlin. The President has said his campaign never colluded with Russia, but has at times sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin over US intelligence agencies, confounding even some of his allies.
The Post was the first to report that the seal behind the President was fake.
A source with TPUSA apologized for the incident, saying it “meant no disrespect to the White House or the President” and told CNN there was “zero malicious intent” behind the imagery.
The person held responsible — a member of TPUSA’s audiovisual team — was let go in the wake of the incident. According to a source familiar with Tuesday’s event, the incident was just a terrible Google search mistake.
“One of our video team members did a Google Image search for a high-res png (file) presidential seal,” the source told CNN, adding that the individual “did the search and with the pressure of the event, didn’t notice that it is a doctored seal.”
Leazott told the Post, however, he believes the person held responsible had used the image intentionally.
“You have to look for this. There’s no way this was an accident is all I’m saying,” Leazott said, adding that whomever is the culprit is “my absolute hero.”
CNN’s Betsy Klein contributed to this report.