On Tuesday, President Donald Trump spoke at a student activist conference that was hosted by Turning Point USA, a conservative advocacy organization. Trump appeared in front of an altered version of the presidential seal, which featured a double-headed eagle, a symbol often associated with Russia, along with a group of golf clubs and a wad of cash.
As Trump walked onto the stage, according to a report by USA Today, two versions of the presidential seal flashed on a screen behind him. One of the variants was the authentic presidential seal. The other was altered.
The young leaders here today (@TPUSA) are part of a movement unlike anything in the history of our nation. It is a movement about reclaiming YOUR future, rebuilding YOUR Country, restoring YOUR destiny, and renewing the values that are the true source of American GREATNESS! pic.twitter.com/unURpLS8Lc
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 24, 2019
The seal to Trump’s right featured a double-headed eagle instead of the traditional eagle found on the official version of the seal. The double-headed eagle bears a resemblance to the symbol used on the Russian coat of arms.
On the altered seal, the eagle appears to be holding a group of golf clubs and a bundle of cash in its claws. The traditional version holds arrows and an olive branch.
Additionally, “e pluribus unum” was replaced on the altered version with “45 es un titere.” In Spanish, “45 es un titere” translates to “45 is a puppet.”
A Turning Point USA spokesman stated that the altered image was an “A/V mistake.”
“It was a last-minute A/V mistake — and I can’t figure out where the breakdown was — but it was a last-minute throw-up, and that’s all it was,” said the spokesman.
Turning Point USA later said that they identified the employee who was responsible for the image being displayed.
“We did let the individual go,” said a spokesman. “I don’t think it was malicious intent, but nevertheless.”
Deputy White House Press Secretary Judd Deere discussed the image, saying, “We never saw the seal in question before it appeared in the video.”
During the speech, Trump also said the Constitution gave him the authority to do “whatever I want.”
“Then, I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as president,” said Trump. “But I don’t even talk about that.”
While Article II does grant the president “executive power,” it does not formally give him the ability to assume total power. Article II also describes Congress’s oversight responsibilities, including some over the office of the presidency.
“It’s certainly not a grant of unlimited power,” said Syracuse University law professor William C. Banks. “He’s not a monarch, he’s the chief executive … and he’s bound to uphold the rule of law.”