McLean, VA – USA Today has refused to back down from a factually-incorrect fact check that reported that President Donald Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign was selling t-shirts featuring a Nazi symbol despite the fact the image is just an American eagle.
“The claims that a Trump campaign T-shirt has come under criticism for using a symbol similar to a Nazi eagle is TRUE, based on our research,” USA Today said in the story originally posted on July 11.
“It is worth noting that the eagle is a common symbol in American politics, and is included in the presidential seal of the U.S., as well as many federal departments,” it added.
USA Today was heavily criticized after it was pointed out that the allegedly offensive symbol it criticized was the same eagle that appeared on the official seal for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California), FOX News reported.
The image featured on the shirt appeared to be a nod to the “Great Seal of America” adopted by the U.S. government in the 1780s to represent the American Experiment, The Daily Wire reported.
Eagles are also prominently used as symbols by numerous other American organizations and agencies, including the seal of the President of the United States and that of the U.S. Marine Corps.
Despite the fact that the American bald eagle is the national bird, USA Today doubled down on the offensiveness of using it as a symbol.
“The Nazi eagle was developed by the German Nazi Party in Germany in the 1920s, and became a symbol of the government after the party took power. It was derived from the German coat of arms,” according to USA Today. “The Reichsadler, which translates to “Imperial Eagle,” was derived from the Holy Roman Empire’s coat of arms.”
The same eagle, without the swastika, is still the official seal of the German government, according to The Daily Wire.
But despite the historical proof to the contrary, USA Today refused to back down on Sunday.
“The claim: Trump campaign shirts feature imperial eagle, a Nazi symbol Our ruling: True,” @USATODAY tweeted.
Then on Monday the newspaper updated the top of their story with an editor’s note that said “This story has been updated to reflect further reporting and analysis. The rating has been changed to inconclusive.”
The original accusation against the Trump campaign was made by a progressive activist organization called Bend the Arc: Jewish Action.
The group posted side-by-side pictures to Twitter that showed a model in a campaign t-shirt that featured an eagle facing the same direction as an eagle on a Nazi symbol.
“The President of the United States is campaigning for reelection with a Nazi symbol. Again,” the group 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.
⁰It’s not an accident. Bigotry is their entire brand. pic.twitter.com/mSOBxwf7Wa
— Bend the Arc: Jewish Action (@jewishaction) July 1, 2020
“It’s not an accident. Bigotry is their entire brand,” the post said.
The White House called the USA Today findings “moronic.”
“This is moronic,” Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director, told USA Today in an email. “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.”
Forbes also did a story about a Jewish group calling the T-shirt “Nazi inspired.”
But countless conservative publications called out the absurdity on social media, and roasted USA Today’s “fact check.”
“According to USA Today, I was served coffee this morning in a cup with a ‘Nazi symbol,’” The Federalist’s editor, Mollie Hemingway, tweeted with a picture of a coffee cup that featured the Great Seal of America.
USA Today later issued a clarification on Twitter that did nothing to silence its critics.
“Clarification: 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 publication tweeted.