Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has been roasted online for selling T-shirts bearing a symbol that is disconcertingly familiar.
Donald Trump’s re-election campaign has been roasted online for selling T-shirts bearing a symbol that is disconcertingly familiar.

Deeply awkward symbol on Trump T-shirt

Donald Trump's re-election campaign is selling merchandise bearing a symbol awkwardly reminiscent of one used by Nazi Germany.

The symbol in question appears on a product called the "America First Tee" which retails for $US30. There's a male and female version of the T-shirt.

It features the words "America First" above an image of an eagle with its wings spread and its talons gripping a circular version of the American flag.

"Show your support for re-electing President Donald J. Trump! Let everyone know who you are voting for in 2020," the product description says.

"We finally have a President that puts AMERICA first. America is strong again, safe again, GREAT again."

It's 100 per cent cotton, with a "durable rib" neckband, which I can only assume is the absolute best type of neckband.

The bald eagle was chosen to be the national emblem of the United States all the way back in the 1700s, when the fledgling nation first won its independence from Great Britain.

The eagle is not usually shown in this position though, and for good reason.

The Nazis used a symbol called the Reichsadler - Imperial Eagle, in English - as Germany's official national insignia after an edict from Adolf Hitler in 1935.

The Reichsadler featured an eagle with its wings spread, and its talons clutching a circular wreath with a swastika inside.

It was a slightly tweaked version of the Nazi Party's emblem, the Parteiadler (Eagle of the party), the only difference being that the Reichsadler's head looked to the left, and the Parteiadler's to the right.

Here are the Trump campaign T-shirts, plus an image of the Reichsadler. Compare the pair.

The T-shirt in question.
The T-shirt in question.

The similarity between the two symbols has not escaped notice on social media, with some people accusing the Trump campaign of adopting Nazi imagery.

My favourite reaction came from General Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA, who simply tweeted: "Holy sh*t."

The Lincoln Project, a group of anti-Trump Republicans which has been running ads against the President, also picked up on the comparison.

It's safe to say someone in the Trump campaign's graphic design department has screwed up.

This all comes on the same day Facebook decided to take down dozens of ads from the President's re-election campaign, citing its policy barring the use of "a banned hate group's symbol".

The campaign had posted 88 ads featuring an upside-down red triangle. The Nazis sewed upside-down triangles onto the clothes of prisoners in their concentration camps to categorise them - the red one denoted a political prisoner.

The Trump ads in question claimed "dangerous MOBS of far-left groups" were "DESTROYING" America's cities (emphasis theirs), and called on Mr Trump's supporters to stand against the left-wing group Antifa, which the President has called a terrorist organisation.

One of the ads in question.
One of the ads in question.

Asked to explain the use of the symbol, a Trump campaign spokesman told US media the red triangle "is an Antifa symbol".

Antifa's actual logo is a pair of flags, one red and one black, inside a circle.

"Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group's symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol," Facebook said in a statement justifying its decision to deactivate the ads.

I should note that Americans who would like to purchase Trump merchandise without any Nazi connotations have plenty of options.

The campaign shop sells, among other things, a wooden train set, a Make American Great Again dog leash, several dozen hats of various colours, and even a baby-sized one-piece declaring "I cry less than a Democrat", for the politically minded infant.

Originally published as Deeply awkward symbol on Trump T-shirt

The female version.
The female version.
The symbol used by Nazi Germany.
The symbol used by Nazi Germany.