By Anthony Smith
July 3, 2016
Donald Trump tweeted a meme Saturday that used dog-whistle anti-Semitism to announce that his political rival, "Crooked Hillary," had "made history."
The meme Trump tweeted prominently featured the Star of David, a holy symbol of the Jewish religion that Nazis attempted to pervert by forcing Jews over the age of 6 to sew it onto their clothing during Hitler's reign.
Emblazoned onto the Star of David in Trump's meme are the words "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!"
The star lies atop a giant pile of money.
Mic discovered Sunday that Donald Trump's Twitter account wasn't the first place the meme appeared. The image was previously featured on /pol/ — an Internet message board for the alt-right, a digital movement of neo-Nazis, anti-Semites and white supremacists newly emboldened by the success of Trump's rhetoric — as early as June 22, over a week before Trump's team tweeted it.
Though the thread where the meme was featured no longer exists, you can find it by searching the URL in Archive.is, a "time capsule of the internet" that saves unalterable text and graphic of webpages. Doing so allows you to see the thread on /pol/ as it originally existed.
Of note is the file name of the photo, HillHistory.jpg, potentially a nod to the Neo-Nazi code for "HH," or "Heil Hitler," which the alt-right is fond of hiding in plain sight.
The watermark on the lower-left corner of the image leads to a Twitter account that regularly tweets violent, racist memes commenting on the state of geopolitical politics.
Other examples of images tweeted by this account include violent propaganda about Muslims and refugees and racist images of Clinton and black Democrats.
Following this report, the account from which the watermarked Star of David meme comes began deleting some of its more inflammatory images. The account itself no longer exists as of Sunday afternoon.
It is currently unclear as to whether Trump's team found this image from @FishBoneHead1's Twitter account, from /pol/ or from another digital repository for racist, xenophobic and violent imagery. When Trump's team sources memes, images and other forms of media from Twitter, the team has a longstanding pattern of attributing the account from which they found it. Among the many benefits of this practice of attribution is that it creates a desirable distance between the presidential candidate and the images he tweets. This distance can — and has — proven beneficial when the account tweets something inflammatory and racist.
If Trump's team found the controversial meme from Twitter, and not a website like /pol/, it is unclear why the Trump campaign would choose its distribution of this image on Twitter to rupture from its longstanding pattern of attributing Twitter users — just when the campaign would seem to need it most.
Mic previously reported white supremacists rally on the internet to track and expose what they believe to be a vast anti-white conspiracy, centuries old, in which Jews have paid off politicians and infiltrated the media to undermine Western society from the top down. The Clinton meme Trump tweeted — which previously appeared on perhaps the biggest bastion of the anti-Semitic alt-right — has brought that same hateful paranoia into the mainstream.
One relationship of particular importance to their "anti-White conspiracy" is that between Jewish reporters and Hillary Clinton, whom they believe to be working in tandem to undermine the Western world, preventing nations like the U.S. from becoming more like their vision of utopia — a nation with racial purity among its core values.
On Saturday, Trump deleted his original tweet of the meme and in its place uploaded an alteration that replaces the Star of David with a circle.
As lawyer and writer William Hodges pointed out, at least two of the points of the original star are still visible from below the circle on the new image on Trump's twitter.
In November, Trump retweeted a meme perpetuating the racist lie that black people committed more violent crimes against white people than any other race. That image was found to have originated from an alt-right internet account as well.
Mic has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment on how this meme traveled from the white supremacist internet to the campaign of the presumptive presidential nominee for a major political party. Though Trump's team has not yet responded to our multiple attempts at inquiry, he tweeted Monday denying that the star in the photo was a Star of David.
His claim that the star in the offending image is a Sherrif's Star or a plain star echoes the statement of former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who asserted the previous day on CNN, where Lewandowski now works, that "this is a simple star... the same star that sheriff's departments across the country use all over the place to represent law enforcement."
Though Trump's tweet on Monday explaining the star used almost the exact same wording as Lewandowski's statement on CNN Sunday, the two currently have no official professional relationship. The Trump campaign ousted Lewandowski as its campaign manager in June. He joined CNN as a political commentator just three days later.
We will update when he responds to our questions concerning where his team found the original image and why his team decided to take the image down.
July 4, 2016, 3:02 p.m.: Hilary Clinton's campaign has responded to the meme, calling it "a blatantly anti-Semetic image from racist websites," and adding that it's "part of a pattern that should give voters major cause for concern."
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