President Trump recently tweeted out a campaign promo video on his official Twitter account. The logo at the end of the video is the very same logo used by a white supremacist Twitter account in 2016.
Thank you for the support as we MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/qKgwRMSgcf
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2019
The video itself is what one would expect from a Trump campaign video, as it touts his $1.5 trillion tax cut package that’s been widely panned as overly beneficial to the rich while providing almost no benefit to workers, low unemployment figures that primarily come from jobs in low-wage sectors like fast food and retail, and high stock market numbers that only really matter to the roughly 18.7% of Americans who have money in the stock market.
However, at the very end of the video, a red, white, and blue lion logo is shown, with “TRUMP PENCE – KEEP AMERICA GREAT” underneath. As Twitter user Brooke Binkowski discovered, that same lion logo was used by the white supremacist Twitter account VDare in 2016, which has since been suspended.
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), VDare is “an anti-immigration hate website” that “regularly publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists and anti-Semites.”
“VDARE also publishes essays by prominent academic racists,” the SPLC wrote. “For example, a column by Jared Taylor, who has argued elsewhere that black people are incapable of maintaining any kind of civilization, dismisses ‘the fantasy of racial equality,’ claims the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ‘stripped Americans of the right to make free decisions,’ and says that ‘[b]lacks, in particular, riot with little provocation,’ unlike the far more peaceable white race.”
This isn’t the first time the Trump administration has borrowed something from VDare. As the Grit Post editorial board wrote in early 2018, President Trump didn’t invent the term “chain migration,” as the phrase was initially used by VDare founder Peter Brimelow, as well as Jared Taylor, publisher of the white nationalist site American Renaissance — also an SPLC-designated hate group. White nationalists even celebrated Trump’s use of the term.
— Travis Hale (@hale_tx) November 1, 2017
As author Horace Bloom documented in a 2016 Medium post, the lion symbol Trump’s re-election campaign is using was also used by a proto-fascist group calling itself “The Lion Guard,” which was a paramilitary group calling on Trump supporters to form a militia to protect other Trump supporters at rallies, even using violence if necessary. Bloom theorized that The Lion Guard’s logo and catchphrase was inspired by Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini:
The reason Trump supporters use the lion in their materials is revealed in the main image from the Lion Guard web site, the image you see at the top of the article. The image of a lion is accompanied by the motto, “Better to be a lion for a day than a lamb for eternity.”
That motto is almost a word-for-word translation of a favorite saying of Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, who said, “It is better to live a day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.” Is it a coincidence that the Lion Guard used this phrase in its call to form a militia for the “defense” of Donald Trump from protesters?
As of this writing, the video with the lion logo is still on Trump’s Twitter account. The campaign has not yet publicly explained the use of the symbol.
(Featured image: President Donald Trump/Brooke Binkowski/Twitter)
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.