The campaign website for President Donald Trump came under fire for unveiling a T-shirt purported to share similarities with the Reichsadler symbol, or imperial eagle, used by the Nazis.
USA Today amplified these accusations, stating on Twitter:
"The claim: Trump campaign shirts feature imperial eagle, a Nazi symbol
Our ruling: True"
The publication soon walked it back with a "clarification" that "The claim that Trump 2020 has put out a T-shirt with a symbol similar to a Nazi eagle and is being criticized for it is true. Worth noting, the eagle is a longtime US symbol, too."
The accusations were first drummed up by two Twitter accounts: Bend the Arc and the Lincoln Project, according to USA Today.
Bend the Arc tweeted: "The President of the United States is campaigning for reelection with a Nazi symbol. Again. On the left: an official Trump/Pence “America First” tee. On the right; the Iron Eagle, the official symbol of the Nazi party. It’s not an accident. Bigotry is their entire brand."
One Facebook user, Skye Weatheread, had something similar to say, posting: "Trump is now selling straight up nazi propaganda shirts. So that's cool. Btw in American symbology the eagle is supposed to turn left. If they are holding anything it would be an Olive branch, a flag, or a bundle of arrows."
"Also 'America first' was the slogan of American nazi sympathizers and the KKK during WW2," she wrote. "I want to also note that the campaign decided to choose a FREE image versus paying a graphic designer. On top of that, the artist who created this image has many, many eagles that are American and not straight up fascist. This was an intentional decision. This was a racist decision. If you wear this shirt, I will assume that you are a fascist piece of trash."
Weatheread apparently is not familiar with the fact that the presidential seal in 1894 featured an eagle facing left.
President Woodrow Wilson, in 1916, had a part in changing the presidential seal to what is known as the Bailey Banks & Biddle version. This eagle is also facing left.
The Post Millennial's Barrett Wilson took to Twitter in response to this claim, tweeting: "The claim: USA Today is contributing to yet another insane moral panic with a fake ‘fact check’ in order to score points against Trump. My ruling: TRUE. But it is worth noting that no sane person would turn to USA Today for a ‘fact check’ anyway."
Others also disputed the claim put forth by the anti-Trump organizations.
This accusation was not one that the Trump campaign was willing to let slide. Tim Murtaugh, the Trump 2020 communications director, wrote in an email: "This is moronic. In Democrats’ America, Mount Rushmore glorifies white supremacy and the bald eagle with an American flag is a Nazi symbol. They have lost their minds."
The eagle is the national bird of the US, but this appears to be lost on those who have charged the Trump campaign with dabbling in Nazi symbols.