President Trump likes to use content and images from some of his supporters, tweeting their memes and opinions out to his 63.7 million followers. Now, a video supporting his 2020 campaign that he tweeted on Wednesday features a logo that was first used by both a fascist vigilante group and a white supremacist website.
the image at the end of the video Trump tweeted earlier was popular amongst the fascists of Lion Guard and the white supremacists of Vdare in 2016 pic.twitter.com/XBCWoRblvp
— Dusty (@DustinGiebel) August 28, 2019
The similarity was spotted by journalist Dustin Giebel and Twitter user @Rukhnamalives, who collaboratively reported that the lion logo at the end of the video closely resembled a logo that surfaced in 2016 as the symbol of the “Lion Guard,” the digital vigilantes who aim to suppress anti-Trump supporters online (the name comes from a Mussolini quote Trump once tweeted: “Better to live a day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”).
The lion logo has also been used by the white nationalist website Vdare, which you can see in this archived tweet from the group’s Dutch Twitter account (the account has since been suspended for supporting white supremacy). Vdare’s website is still up and running, and its content is being circulated among the Trump administration: the Justice Department sent a link to one of the site’s anti-Semitic, racist blog posts to immigration judges last week.
According to writer Horace Bloom, who independently published a book comparing Trump to Hitler, the lion logo is known as the “Fascist Lion.” He writes that the Lion Guard has used this same lion symbol in a seal that is remarkably similar to ones used in Nazi Germany.
All things considered, it’s a remarkably apt logo for the president, given his long history of supporting white supremacists. It appears the video was produced by a Twitter user called @som3thingwicked, who often makes pro-Trump memes and whose handle appears in the corner of the video. While it may be a fan-produced ad, Trump tweeted the video without any other explanation about its origins. It has been viewed 2.4 million times on Twitter as of Thursday morning.
Trump’s 2016 campaign logo was widely mocked for an intertwined T and P (the latter representing Mike Pence) where the T appeared to be penetrating the P. Trump soon pulled the logo.
Fast Company has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment and will update this post if we hear back.