In the frame

The ‘most petty piece of art’ or an apt satire of the US presidency?

President Donald Trump arrives to speak, with an altered presidential seal behind him, at Turning Point USA's Teen Student Action Summit 2019 AP Photo/Alex Brandon

The creator of a spoof presidential seal depicting a Russian double-headed eagle clutching golf clubs and wads of cash, which US President Donald Trump embarrassingly found himself standing in front of this week, has called the image “the most petty piece of art I think I’ve ever designed”. Speaking to the New York Times, Charles (identified by his first name only to avoid increasing the hate mail he has already receiving from the president’s supporters), who sells merchandise with the seal in his online shop One Term Donnie, says: “This was every petty, little thing I could think of to needle him because he was driving me bananas with his politics.” Instead of the usual signs of power and prosperity, the altered design's symbolism hints at greed, ignorance and corruption, and the Latin motto “E Pluribus Unum” is replaced with the Spanish phrase “45 Es un Títere” or “45 Is a Puppet”. Seeing Trump standing in front of the image at a conservative-run conference for high school students in Washington, DC “kind of made my day,” Charles says.