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The Tweetenkampfverbande: Trump Tweets Image of Waffen SS Soldiers–Underground Reich “Dog Whistle”?

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Waffen SS-clad World War II reenactors, in original photo used by Trump

Waffen SS-clad World War II reenactors, in original photo used by Trump

COMMENT: As his campaign was gaining momentum in July of 2015, Donald Trump tweeted a campaign ad that featured a picture of uniformed Waffen SS troopers in the lower right-hand corner. A photograph of Waffen SS-clad World War II reenactors, the picture was blamed on “an intern.” This has become a familiar sort of dodge by Trump when caught tweeting openly racist, anti-Semitic and/or pro-Nazi material–“Who, Me?”

In FTR #882, we noted some of Trump’s “interesting” associations, from SS officer Otto Von Bolschwing protege and Reagan staffer Helene Von Damm, to Joe McCarthy aide Roy Cohn, to former Axis spy Norman Vincent Peale.

We wonder if Trump is linked to, or part of, the Bormann capital network?

In FTR #894, we underscored the long and profound association of the GOP with Nazis and SS war criminals via the Gehlen organization, the overlapping Crusade For Freedom, and the former World Anti-Communist League.

We wonder if the use of Waffen SS-clad troopers is a political “dog whistle” to Underground Reich/Nazi/white supremacist adherents?

Interestingly, and perhaps significantly, the brother of the photographer who snapped the original picture had also had a picture of SS-clad World War II reenactors used by Tim Spear, a GOP state legislator in North Carolina, in his 2010 campaign.

Worth considering in this context is the fact that it is VERY simple to come up with pictures of American soldiers in uniform. Any campaign seeking to cloak a candidate in “patriotic garb” would find it VERY easy to do that without resorting to the same pair of brothers’ photographs of Waffen-SS-clad WWII reenactors.

“I have photos of American soldiers as well,” Cairns said. “But for some reason, [American GOP] politicians seem to be downloading Nazis.” . . .

Also: in right-wing and some military periodicals, the WWII Nazi memorabilia, gear and reenactment milieu has been described as among the possible entry portals available to someone who wants to move from playing with toys to actual Nazi activism.

Are we seeing that here?

“Donald Trump Just Tweeted a Campaign Ad Featuring What Look Like Nazi Soldiers” by Ben Dreyfuss; Mother Jones; 7/14/2015.

UPDATE: We spoke to the dude who took this Nazi photo and he told us something that makes this whole story even more hilarious.Read here.

Not long ago, Donald Trump sent out the following tweet:

The tweet is now deleted. Why did Trump delete it? Maybe it has something to with those the soldiers marching next to The Donald’s shoulder:

#MEGAFAIL ===> Yes, those aren’t just WW2 Germans, they’re Waffen-SS in the Trump campaign pic https://t.co/BSFNuNrK6R

— John Schindler (@20committee) July 14, 2015

Yes, Trump (or his graphic design minions) apparently included a photo of soldiers from the Waffen-SS, the notorious military wing of the Nazi SS, in the image. John Schindler, who seems to know his World War II German uniforms, has been detailing the Trump campaign’s photo-research fail:

100% certain Waffen-SS ID on the Trump pic….if media want an explainer how I am certain, ask me https://t.co/b3pwWmdwHY

— John Schindler (@20committee) July 14, 2015

.@charles_gaba@MichaelNiemerg@realDonaldTrump they’re wearing Waffen-SS cuff titles, FFS…dude on left has late-war SS “dot” camo uniform

— John Schindler (@20committee) July 14, 2015

Notice the late-war Waffen-SS “dot” camo tunic, with SS eagle on left arm as in the Trump pic https://t.co/b3pwWmdwHYpic.twitter.com/ulScwicbZU

— John Schindler (@20committee) July 14, 2015

See also Waffen-SS tunic with unit cuff title & SS eagle on left arm, as in Trump pic https://t.co/b3pwWmdwHYpic.twitter.com/IdQlwcIebJ

— John Schindler (@20committee) July 14, 2015

It’s not clear what the source of the photo in the Trump tweet is; the soldiers in the photo could be modern-day World War II reenactors. According to the most recent poll from Suffolk/USA Today, Trump leads the GOP field by three points.

Update, Tuesday 3:40pm ET: And the answers begin to trickle in…

Found @realDonaldTrump‘s german soldier stock image here (searched “world war II soldiers”) http://t.co/GKkcNTUKpmpic.twitter.com/ysWGeePZIr

— Reed F. Richardson (@reedfrich) July 14, 2015

Update 2, Tuesday 3:46pm ET: This GIF, by our own Ivylise Simones, is perfect:

GIF: Ivylise Simones

Update 3, Tuesday 4:00pm ET: The Trump campaign says an intern did it:

Trump campaign responds: An intern did it. pic.twitter.com/oZBJAtwffl

— Eric Geller (@ericgeller) July 14, 2015

“The Insane Story Behind Donald Trump’s Deleted Nazi Tweet” by Tim McDonnell; Mother Jones; 7/14/2015.

. . . . Cairns is a British freelance stock photographer and photography instructor who says he frequents war reenactments as good locations to pick up realistic-looking stock images—not just of Nazis, but also of American GIs and other soldiers. . . .

. . . . In an almost impossibly bizarre coincidence, this isn’t the first time the Cairns family has been caught up in a photo kerfuffle involving Nazis and American politicians. George’s brother John is also a stock photographer, and took the image of Nazi reenactors that was accidentally used in a flier for the campaign of North Carolina state legislator Tim Spear in 2010.

“I have photos of American soldiers as well,” Cairns said. “But for some reason, [American GOP] politicians seem to be downloading Nazis.” . . .

 

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