Presidential historians may want to start writing their chapters on Reddit’s r/The_Donald, the pro-Trump community that appears to have a hand in the latest presidential controversy.
On Sunday, as part of an ongoing feud with CNN, President Donald Trump posted what is now the most popular tweet of his presidency: an edited clip from his 2007 Wrestlemania appearance with the cable news outlet’s logo superimposed on the head of Vince McMahon, whom he beat up as part of a real-life wrestling performance.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2017
“Holy shit!! I wake up and have my morning coffee and who retweets my shitpost but the MAGA EMPORER himself!!! I am honored!!” the user who claims to be behind the meme wrote.
The remixed version of the clip, created just days earlier, appears to have originated on r/The_Donald, the biggest pro-Trump community on the social news site, where it appeared under the headline “Trump takes down fake news.”
The clip was posted by the user HanAssholeSolo, who in turn is now a minor celebrity on the subreddit and endowed with the title of “Meme Master.” Trump’s use of the meme has galvanized and validated the community of conservatives, trolls, and Trump supporters—who are now convinced that the president frequents their page.
“Now it’s confirmed that Trump sees our memes,” another r/The_Donald user wrote.
It’s unclear how the president was exposed to the clip, but the president’s use of the clip doesn’t confirm that Trump spends his time browsing r/The_Donald. At some point between HanAssholeSolo’s Reddit post and Trump’s tweet, someone further altered the clip to add sound.
“That is my original logo on the video,” HanAssholeSolo noted in a comment. “… [I]t matches the gif the way it’s moving so someone put the sound with it.”
As the Washington Post first noted, HanAssholeSolo’s contributions to the subreddit include Islamaphobic remarks and other potentially offensive—some might say not politically correct—comments. “Both times I was in Paris I carried punch blades sewn into my pockets..any of those Islamic fucks tried shit with me would get an immediate punch to the neck with 2 inches of titanium embedded in their throat,” HanAssholeSolo wrote in April on r/UncensoredNews. The comment was largely mocked by the other users.
Reddit’s r/The_Donald arose during the contentious 2016 election and has become one of the most controversial subreddits on the social media site. Its users aggressively pushed pro-Trump and anti-Democrat posts to Reddit’s heavily visited front page, prompting the site’s administrators to change its algorithm last year at least partially in an attempt to reduce r/The_Donald’s domination.
Among its many exploits, r/The_Donald has engaged in many campaigns to rig 2016 presidential debate polls in Trump’s favor, perpetuate right-wing conspiracy theories, and was home to crowdsourced efforts to dig into the Democratic National Committee’s email leaks for compromising information on Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 presidential rival.
Now it can add “inspiring the president of the United States” to its list of accomplishments.