President Donald Trump has flirted and had numerous dalliances with both the far-right and white nationalist movements during his time in office and Wednesday was his most explicit yet.
Trump often shares memes and videos made by his supporters—who, you know, can also be affiliated with those groups—and on Wednesday afternoon, he shared a 2020 reelection video made in his honor.
Thank you for the support as we MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/qKgwRMSgcf— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2019
The video came from Twitter user @som3thingwicked and seemed like standard MAGA fare. But the end shot of a red, white, and blue lion with “Trump Pence Keep America Great” under it raised the suspicions of Brooke Binkowski, an independent researcher and journalist.
Binkowski quickly realized it was a symbol used previously by VDARE, a white nationalist website.
2019 / 2016 pic.twitter.com/0oWGl0U3DE— Brooke Binkowski (@brooklynmarie) August 29, 2019
VDARE has been described as an anti-immigrant hate website by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which “publishes articles by prominent white nationalists, race scientists, and anti-Semites.”
The logo itself isn’t owned by VDARE, but it is more associated with the Lion Guard, a militia group that is described as fascist, which supports Trump and likes to quote Mussolini.
When the story surfaced late Wednesday night, the creator denied any ties to any white nationalist groups and said merely that the lion image came up on a Google search.
@som3thingwicked then blamed Google for making the association, saying that the search giant tagged it as “MAGA” and that it was at fault for linking the two.