Where Donald Trump's Clinton Meme Originally Came From

July 3rd 2016

meme tweeted by Donald Trump on Saturday — which included a prominently placed Jewish religious symbol over a pile of cash and the exclamation that his Democratic rival was the "Most Corrupt Candidate Ever!" — has come under intense fire for anti-Semitism, prompting a former Trump campaign manager to publicly defend the image as a "simple" sheriff's star.

But now we're learning that this isn't the first time this exact meme has appeared, and its origins say a lot about its original intent.

tweetTwitter/@realDonaldTrump - twitter.com

Mic learned that image tweeted by Trump actually appeared as early as June 22 on the internet site /pol/, which they describe as a "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."

Trump's meme originally appears on the alt-right message board /pol/.Image from /pol/ - mic.com

The image is credited through a watermark in the lower-left corner to the Twitter user @FishBoneHead1, who Mic notes has tweeted other violent, racist images targeting Muslims, immigrants, and Clinton:

tweetTweet from @FishBoneHead1 via Mic - mic.com

tweetTweet from @FishBoneHead1 via Mic - mic.com

Meanwhile, NBC News has found that the meme may have appeared online even earlier, discovering the meme among @FishBoneHead1's tweets on June 15, more than a two weeks before it appeared on the Republican presidential candidate's Twitter feed.

As of Sunday afternoon, @FishBoneHead1's account was no longer active on Twitter.

What's the problem with the tweet?

As many online were quick to identify, the star graphic looks like a Star of David, a recognizable holy symbol of the Jewish religion. The star was also used as a way to brand Jews during the Holocaust.

Whether intentional or unintentional on the part of Donald Trump, the symbol itself has become a dog-whistle for white supremacists and anti-Semites online, who frequently link the Jewish community to worldwide anti-white conspiracies. These paranoid theories often involve claims that Jews have infiltrated Western media and political circles to takedown Western society, and usually rely on the stereotype of the wealthy, greedy Jew to make specious suggestions of corruption.

It's unclear whether Trump knew the meme's origins or not.

The Trump campaign originally tweeted the image attacking former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday, and within hours had removed the image and re-uploaded it with a circle replacing the Star of David.

As others have pointed out, Donald Trump usually credits the source of the images and memes he tweets from his account. It's also notable that the watermark appears to be missing on both versions uploaded to Trump's Twitter feed, despite the image being virtually identical to the one credited to @FishBoneHead1. This may mean that the campaign sourced the image elsewhere online and was unaware of its racist origins, but the anti-Semitic message behind the image is beyond doubt — and given the almost identical nature of Trump's tweet to the original, it seems less and less likely that his campaign was completely unaware of the connection either.

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