UPDATED: Mediaite posted an op-ed from an anonymous meme-maker who claims the logo is innocent. While I think it is good of Mediaite to provide a forum for a possible explanation, I don’t know enough about “Carpe Donktum” to evaluate his/her claims. I also need to add that I originally thought the ad came from the Trump campaign. However, it was produced by a supporter of Trump and retweeted by the president. I have corrected my post to reflect that.
Somebody supporting the Trump re-election effort is too familiar with white nationalist symbols. Recently, Trump retweeted a video that ended with a lion logo surrounded by red, white, and blue which has been promoted by a white nationalist group. Watch:
Thank you for the support as we MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/qKgwRMSgcf
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2019
As first reported by Mediaite this morning, Snopes managing editor Brooke Binkowski found a tweet from white nativist group VDARE using the logo in 2016 and showed it next to the final shot of the Trump/Pence video.
2019 / 2016 pic.twitter.com/0oWGl0U3DE
— Brooke Binkowski (@brooklynmarie) August 29, 2019
Note the 2016 date. The logo is the same as the one used in the Trump/Pence ad just this week.
The Lion’s Guard
The logo is also associated with a group called “The Lion’s Guard.” This group (which was promoted and praised on white supremacist site Daily Stormer in 2016) aims to provide security at Trump rallies and was removed from Twitter for awhile. They are back now with the same logo.
Note the slogan on the group’s website:
Better to be a lion for a day, than a lamb for eternity.
The slogan is a simpler version of a quote attributed to Mussolini:
It’s better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.
In 2016, Trump retweeted this quote knowing the attribution was to Mussolini:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 28, 2016
Donald Trump and/or his social media team thought it would be a good idea to promote a symbol which communicated nativist themes. They who have eyes to see, let them see.