Remember the plaid shirt guy from Thursday’s Donald Trump rally in Montana? The one who made all of those funny faces in response to Trump’s speech before he got ejected? Well, the not-quite-masked emoter’s identity has been discovered by the Daily Beast, and he spoke to the site about his viral antics.
The man in plaid’s name is Tyler Linfesty, 17, a high schooler from the Billings, Montana area, according to the Daily Beast.
Linfesty, who sported not just a blue plaid shirt during the Trump rally but also a sticker for the Democratic Socialists of America organization, managed to squirrel himself into a position behind the president during Friday’s rally. What may have been a perfectly executed troll was no more than dumb luck, as Linfesty’s name was drawn out of a hat to stand behind the president.
It was then that Linfesty began his crusade for viral fame, acting out incredulous expressions just behind the president’s shoulder whenever he made one of his typical outlandish claims, and he gave off a comically confused look, as if to say “whaaaaaat?”
After Trump claimed that he’d picked up support for his deep state conspiracy theory, Linfesty appears to mouth: “Have you?”
this was one of my favorites ‘we’ve picked up a lot of support’ plaid shirt guy ‘HAVE YOU!??’ pic.twitter.com/omM7i8zwPh— Katie Moeser (@IamKatieMoe) September 7, 2018
Linfesty and two others were eventually replaced for, well, not being perky and obedient enough, I guess. A petite brunette eventually approached Linfesty, replacing his position behind the president as Linfesty stepped away.
“I’m going to take your place now,” Linfesty recalled the woman saying. “I knew that I was getting kicked out for not clapping so I didn’t fight it. Some Secret Service guys took me backstage and told me to wait. After about 10 minutes they told me to leave and not come back and that was it.”
The other two less-than-subservient attendees were eventually replaced by blonde women.
When you realize halfway through a Trump rally that the people in the bleachers need to be peppier and blonder. pic.twitter.com/NytEn23a9g— Susan Simpson (@TheViewFromLL2) September 7, 2018
As for Linfesty’s Democratic Socialist sticker, the young man said, “I am part of the Democratic Socialists of America, but I identify as a social democrat, like Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.”
The Billings chapter of the DSA seemed delighted to hear of its fan’s antics.
“The young man is not an active member of our chapter,” the group told the Daily Beast, “but we hope he will be!”
Linfesty was later interviewed on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, saying his reactions were natural and not acted out, and that he would have given them if anybody said such ridiculous things to him.
"I was not trying to protest." This high school student was nicknamed #PlaidShirtGuy after he was asked to leave a Trump rally after making animated facial expressions during the President's speech. He speaks to CNN's @DonLemon. https://t.co/nvMnN487jv pic.twitter.com/zbyqLc7pXs— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) September 8, 2018
“Each time I see one of these rallies, I see people behind Donald Trump clapping and cheering and being super enthusiastic,” Linfesty said. “I’ve always wondered myself, are those people really being genuine? So when I got back there, I knew I was going to be genuine.”