Since early July, liberals on social media have seen pumping out claims that the Trump campaign was selling “America First Tee” shirts that featured the “Imperial Eagle” (an eagle holding a wreathed swastika), a common symbol in Nazi Germany. Even though images of an eagle holding something round was common imagery in American politics, the so-called fact-checkers over at USA Today put out a tweet Sunday that said they ruled the claim as “true.”
Showing a picture of the “Imperial Eagle” next to on of the campaign shirt (an eagle holding a round American flag, the USA Today Twitter account declared: “The claim: Trump campaign shirts feature imperial eagle, a Nazi symbol. Our ruling: True.”
The claim: Trump campaign shirts feature imperial eagle, a Nazi symbol— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 12, 2020
Our ruling: True https://t.co/3eCiYdgQvK
But over an hour and a half after their initial tweet, the paper had to issue this statement: “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.”
In response to the paper’s outlandish tweet, they were righty ridiculed with other images of eagles hold round objects such as the Marine Corps’ eagle, globe, and anchor, an Obama campaign logo, the official seal of Nancy Pelosi’s office (eagle and a globe), and stamps from the U.S. Postal Service.
Upon clicking on their “fact-check” article, it became clear that what they fact-checked wasn’t whether or not the campaign was selling a shirt with a Nazi symbol, but rather, they ridiculously fact-checked how the campaign was accused of such a thing.
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.— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) July 12, 2020
“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,” fact-checker Will Peebles wrote. “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.”
Peebles noted that research into the shirt discovered the eagle was just a shock image, and he pointed out “key differences” in the designs of the two images. “In Trump’s, the eagle holds the American flag up near its chest; the Nazi symbol holds the swastika lower,” he said. “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.”
The "fact-check" even noted a previously debunked Nazi imagery allegation leveled against then-House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) back in 2017. “A BuzzFeed story notes that January, Twitter was abuzz with the idea that the speaker's logo resembled a similar Nazi eagle and swastika,” he recalled. “But it also looks like the eagle-and-globe top of the silver mace of the House, ‘a symbol of the House's authority,’ according to the House website.”
Despite later admitting “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,” Peebles concluded: “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.”
The paper wanted so desperately to have a “true” associated with a Trump/Nazi controversy that they “fact-checked” the existence of the controversy, not whether or not the image was Nazi related. Pathetic.