“WASHINGTON, DC – JULY 23: U.S. President Donald Trump applauds in front of a doctored presidential seal with a double headed eagle and a set of golf clubs as he arrives to address the Teen Student Action Summit July 23, 2019 in Washington, DC. Conservative high school students gathered for the 4-day invited-only conference hosted by Turning Point USA to hear from conservative leaders and activists, receive activism and leadership training, and network with other attendees and organizations from across the U.S.
The fake presidential seal was online long before the 2019 Turning Point USA event, and someone could have searched for the seal and accidentally (or purposefully) downloaded the fake version from a free image site such as Free PNG Library.
Indeed, the Post later reported that the fake presidential seal had been created and put online years earlier by a “former Republican fed up with Trump,” a 46-year-old graphic designer named Charles Leazott:
[Leazott] threw it together after the 2016 presidential election — it was one park joke, one part catharsis. He used to be a proud Republican. He voted for George W. Bush. Twice.
But Donald J. Trump’s GOP was no longer his party. So he created a mock presidential seal to prove his point.
“I’m a graphic designer, it’s just something I tossed together, he said. “This was just a goofy thing for some people I knew. I had no idea it would blow up like this.”
Turning Point USA said the mistaken use of the fake seal was an unintentional “last-minute oversight,” although Leazott himself didn’t buy that explanation:
[T]he Turning Point spokesman said the group had identified the staffer responsible for turning Leazott’s design into a trending topic. He called the incident a last-minute oversight, the result of a quick online search to find a second high-resolution photo of the presidential seal to place behind Trump. He said the mistake was “unacceptable.”
“We did let the individual go,” the spokesman said. “I don’t think it was malicious intent, but nevertheless.”
Leazott doesn’t buy it. He thinks whoever was responsible had to know exactly what they were looking for. He believes the person dug up the image he created and used it intentionally.
“That’s a load of crap,” he said in response to Turning Point’s explanation. “You have to look for this. There’s no way this was an accident is all I’m saying.”
Charles Leazott’s design and merchandise featuring it can be purchased at his website: