Man behind fake presidential seal is former Republican who opposes Trump

The man who created the altered presidential seal that appeared behind President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP-led Maricopa County board decries election recount a 'sham' Analysis: Arpaio immigration patrol lawsuit to cost Arizona county at least 2 million Conservatives launch 'anti-cancel culture' advocacy organization MORE briefly as he gave a speech earlier this week is a 46-year-old graphic designer who crafted the image after becoming disenchanted by Trump and the GOP. 

“This is the most petty piece of art I have ever created,” Charles Leazott, a former Republican who voted for President George W. Bush twice, told The Washington Post in an interview


The Post noted that Leazott crafted the fake presidential seal following the 2016 presidential election. But the design grabbed widespread attention on Thursday after news outlets reported that Trump had appeared in front of Leazott's design while speaking at the conservative group Turning Point USA's Teen Student Action Summit in Washington, D.C. 

As Trump walked on the stage, a screen behind him displayed an altered presidential seal featuring a two-headed eagle — an image similar to one on the Russian Federation coat of arms — holding a set of golf clubs. A banner also read "45 es un titere,” Spanish for “45 is a puppet."

The logo was interpreted widely as a knock at the president's relationship with Moscow and his love of golfing at his namesake courses. 

“I’m a graphic designer, it’s just something I tossed together,” Leazott said of the image. “This was just a goofy thing for some people I knew. I had no idea it would blow up like this."

The Post first reported that Turning Point USA was looking into how the seal appeared while Trump was on stage. An unnamed source later told CNN that an audiovisual aide responsible for the seal had been dismissed. 

A source familiar with the event emphasized to CNN that there was "zero malicious intent" behind the image. The source added that the mistake stemmed from a Google search mistake. 

"One of our video team members did a Google Image search for a high-res png (file) presidential seal," a source said, adding that the individual "did the search and with the pressure of the event, didn't notice that it is a doctored seal."

A White House spokesman told The Hill that officials had not seen the seal before it was displayed.

Turning Point USA did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.  

The Post noted that the altered presidential seal first appeared on the internet on an online marketplace that Leazott launched to sell apparel and stickers that included the logo. The site also includes coffee mugs and shirts that mock the president. 

Leazott told the Post that Trump appearing in front of the seal is now the background image on his computer. He addd that the person responsible for the incident is “either wildly incompetent or the best troll ever — either way, I love them.”

"I’ve got to be honest, I am so tickled in the most petty way possible that the president of the United States, who I despise, stood up and gave a talk in front of this graphic," he said. "Whoever put that up is my absolute hero.”