U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted a video promoting his 2020 campaign on Wednesday evening, which immediately sparked controversy for its purported use of a white supremacist logo at the end of the clip.
Former Snopes Managing Editor Brooke Binkowski was among the first to point out the problematic use of the logo. Binkowski tweeted a thread showing an archived version of a now-deleted 2016 tweet by VDARE, a white nationalist, anti-immigrant group that shared the symbol in question.
Mediaite tracked the image back even further, to a tweet by a self-described Dutch white nationalist, who Trump thanked for his support on Twitter in 2015 and whose Twitter account has since been suspended.
Mediaite also reported that the logo is also used by the fascist group Lion Guard, whose name came from a Trump retweet of the Benito Mussolini quote “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”
Seth Mandel, the executive editor of Washington Examiner Magazine, replied, “This is a bigger deal than ppl are going to make of it I think. This is taking his platform and signal boosting white supremacists and fascists. Yes, I know, he doesn’t pay attention to this stuff, but so what? He should! And his team obviously wallow in the fever swamps.”
The Trump campaign responded to Mediaite in a statement that the president “shared an independently-produced video that highlighted the strengths of the economy his policies have created. Any conspiracy connected to white supremacy exists only in the fevered minds of reporters who will believe anything negative about the president.”
The video's creator "@som3thingwicked” defended the inclusion of the logo in a tweet holding Google responsible and asking "Why is GOOGLE associating white supremacist metadata with Trump/MAGA?"
VDARE made headlines last week when the Justice Department’s immigration arm sent judges a morning news briefing that included a blog post from their website.
The post by VDARE featured links that directly attacked immigration judges with racially tinged slurs and a specific anti-Semitic reference about Jews and power, according to a letter sent Thursday by judges’ union president Ashley Tabbador to James McHenry, the director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review at the Justice Department.
It was distributed to all 440 immigration judges across the country earlier this week, along with other stories from The Washington Post and Connecticut Public Radio. The inclusion of the post was first reported by BuzzFeed.
Assistant Press Secretary Kathryn Mattingly said the daily morning news briefings are compiled by a contractor and the blog post should not have been included.
“The Department of Justice condemns anti-Semitism in the strongest terms,” she said.
VDARE is an anti-immigration website, which also publishes work by white nationalists, founded and edited by Peter Brimelow. He also operates a Connecticut-based nonprofit, VDARE Foundation, that raised nearly $4.8 million between 2007 and 2015, according to IRS filings. The Washington Post reported last week that Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow had invited Brimelow to a recent birthday party at his home.