Talk about an unfortunate typo of historic proportions.
In the finale to President-elect Donald Trump‘s pre-inauguration celebration, a fireworks show blasted above the Lincoln Memorial spelled out what looks quite clearly like “U-S-R” instead of “U-S-A.”
Given all the talk about Trump and Russia, the simple misshapen letter is already sparking a conspiracy theory among Trump’s detractors.
Here’s what it looked like in the video shared by Trump on Thursday night:
Thank you for joining us at the Lincoln Memorial tonight- a very special evening! Together, we are going to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! pic.twitter.com/5d774OCx5o
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2017
CNN reporter Brian Stetler captured another version:
U-S-A fireworks pic.twitter.com/zdcvhly3mv
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 19, 2017
And here’s a GIF, just for posterity’s sake.
Of course, the logical explanation here is that spelling things in the sky with explosions doesn’t always work out precisely as intended. But that hasn’t stopped Americans anxious about Trump’s impending presidency from calling out the perceived misspelling.
People who replied to Stetler’s tweet immediately noticed the suspiciously “R”-looking shape.
— Full Frontal (@FullFrontalSamB) January 19, 2017
Is it just me or did the fireworks at the Lincoln Memorial last night spell out "USR"? pic.twitter.com/ZWFpCYbFLs
— Dr Jeroen Swart (@JeroenSwart) January 20, 2017
How fitting. The fireworks at @realDonaldTrump inaugural concert spelled "USR".
United States of…Russia? pic.twitter.com/UhVGBOSRqj
— Sains Laurent (@MikeSains) January 19, 2017
— Arizona Political 💎 (@AZVotes) January 19, 2017
One of the few publications to report on the mushy fireworks display was Russia Today, a state-funded news outlet that the Columbia Journalism Review describes as the “Kremlin’s propaganda outlet.” The lede from RT’s report definitely isn’t helping stamp down the conspiracy theorists:
A spectacular fireworks display on inauguration eve proved to be a real blast online, as the pyrotechnics left viewers open-mouthed when they spelled “USR” instead of “USA.” The goof prompted Twitter users to joke that Russia had “hacked” the show. Ha-ha.