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Fact-Checkers Rated A Trump T-Shirt As ‘Similar’ To Nazi Imagery. Will Jill Biden Get The Same Treatment?

Fact-Checkers Rated A Trump T-Shirt As ‘Similar’ To Nazi Imagery. Will Jill Biden Get The Same Treatment?

As The Daily Wire reported, First Lady Jill Biden sparked backlash and controversy online Wednesday afternoon when she botched an attempt to speak Spanish while standing in front of a flag promoted by labor leader and activist Cesar Chavez.The clip, which initially went viral because of Biden’s botched attempt to say “Si se puede” (Yes you/we can), shows the First Lady standing in front of a flag that many commentators noted appeared to resemble Nazi imagery.

“The flag was the official flag of the United Farm Workers of America,” The Daily Wire explained. “The organization claims that the eagle that is featured on the flag was designed by Cesar Chavez’s brother, Richard Chavez.” In a profile piece on Cesar Chavez, Smithsonian Magazine notes that the activist “researched emblems, including cigarette boxes and Nazi flags, and concluded that the most potent color combination was red, black and white.”DELANO, CA - MARCH 31: First Lady Dr. Jill Biden participates in a Day of Action at The Forty Acres with the Cesar Chavez Foundation, United Farm Workers, and the UFW Foundation on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 in Delano, CA.

Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

While much of the legacy media seemed to show little to no interest in the imagery displayed behind the First Lady of the United States, the same disinterest was not apparent when Donald Trump was president. 

Trump Campaign T-shirt

In July 2020, for example, USA Today published a fact-check titled “Trump campaign T-shirt design similar to Nazi eagle.” The “claim” investigated was that the “Trump campaign shirts feature imperial eagle, a Nazi symbol.” USA Today summarized this “claim” as follows (formatting adjusted):

“President Donald Trump’s campaign website recently unveiled a T-shirt that has come under fire because of design similarities between its logo and a Nazi symbol. The similarity was first noticed, according to Forward, by two Twitter accounts, Bend the Arc: Jewish Action, described as a Jewish progressive group, and the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump group formed by Republicans.

‘The President of the United States is campaigning for reelection with a Nazi symbol. Again,’ Bend the Arc tweeted on July 1. Several Facebook posts have noted the similarities, as well. One user noted, ‘Trump is now selling straight up nazi propaganda shirts.’”

The USA Today fact-check continued, first explaining the history of Nazi eagle, which was “developed by the German Nazi Party in Germany in the 1920s, and became a symbol of the government after the party took power. … Following World War II, the symbol was used by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.”

Then, USA Today explained “America’s use of the eagle:”

“The Great Seal of America” was developed in 1782 and also features a right-facing eagle, though the bird’s talons are spread, one holding arrows, the other holding an olive branch. “Only one authorized Great Seal is in official use and is operated by the U.S. Department of State. The Great Seal is impressed upon official documents such as treaties and commissions. The Department of State affixes about 3,000 seals to official documents yearly,’ according to the State Department’s website.”

“The similarities between the Trump logo and the Nazi eagle are obvious,” USA Today asserted. “Both birds hold another national symbol in their talons, wings outstretched, with the head facing to the right to the viewer, or the eagle’s left.”

“The designs have differences as well,” the report acknowledged. “In Trump’s, the eagle holds the American flag up near its chest; the Nazi symbol holds the swastika lower. Trump’s design also features ‘Trump 2020’ below it. The American eagle is also a bald eagle, whereas the Nazi eagle is depicted as an all-black bird. Germany’s federal eagle is depicted as a black bird with a red beak and talons.”

Then, USA Today added further “context” to the supposed similarities by describing “other Nazi symbolism,” writing that “Trump’s campaign materials have featured symbols used by Nazis.”

Absurdly, the USA Today fact-check initially concluded with a ruling of “true”: “The claims that a Trump campaign T-shirt uses a symbol similar to a Nazi eagle is TRUE, based on our research.”

USA Today has since amended their so-called “fact-check,” attaching an editor’s note that reads, “This story has been updated to reflect further reporting and analysis. The rating has been changed to inconclusive.” USA Today has also given the piece a new title: “Fact check: Trump campaign accused of T-shirt design with similarity to Nazi eagle.”

In the updated version, “America’s use of the eagle” is listed before Germany’s use of the eagle, and is expanded beyond the original two short paragraphs to include pivotal details such as, “The bald eagle has been the national bird of the United States since 1782, according to the Library of Congress.”

The fact-checker then changed the ruling from “true” to “inconclusive,” writing:

The U.S. government has many uses of eagle imagery in its official seals and emblems including on the “Great Seal of America,” on the presidential seal and on the mace of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Trump campaign’s T-shirt includes the use of an eagle that some claim bears resemblance to a Nazi eagle. We rate the claim that the Trump campaign is using Nazi imagery as INCONCLUSIVE, based on our research.

Jill Biden’s Flag

Given the outrage directed toward the Trump campaign T-shirt, the complete lack of interest shown in the flag behind Jill Biden as she declared “Si se pwadueh” demonstrates not only the partisan nature of the legacy media, but the shameless partisanship of fact-checking organizations in general.

Before they were forced to amend their original fact-check, USA Today concluded that the Trump campaign’s use of an eagle was “similar” to Nazi imagery. 

As noted above, according to Smithsonian Magazine, Chavez specifically “researched emblems, including cigarette boxes and Nazi flags,” when he designed the flag. So, when a Democrat like Jill Biden speaks in front of a flag at least in part inspired — by the designers’ own admission — on Nazi imagery, we should notice that concerned investigative work from outlets like USA Today is suddenly nowhere to be seen.

What changed?

Ian Haworth is an Editor and Writer for The Daily Wire. Follow him on Twitter at @ighaworth.

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