Simanaitis Says

On cars, old, new and future; science & technology; vintage airplanes, computer flight simulation of them; Sherlockiana; our English language; travel; and other stuff


THE PRESIDENTIAL SEAL, formally the Coat of Arms of the President of the United States, is an impressive thing. Its definition contains plenty of heraldic jargon: The shield consists of “Paleways of thirteen pieces argent and guiles” (bands of silver and red ), “a chief azure” (with blue band atop); “upon the breast of an American Eagle displayed holding in his dexter talon” (right) “an olive branch and in his sinister” (left) “a bundle of thirteen arrows all proper” (their natural color), “and in his beak a white scroll inscribed ‘E PLURIBUS UNUM’ sable” (Latin: ‘Out of Many, One,’ in black).

Seal of the President of the United States.

The crest description takes about twice this much space in heraldic jazz. We learn about “glory Or” (a halo of gold), “thirteen mullets argent” (stars; we already know argent/silver and the thirteen original colonies), and white stars in “an annulet” (little ring).

Imagine the hoot, though, when Trump spoke July 23, 2019, at a rightwing Turning Point USA rally held at the Marriot Marquis in Washington, D.C. Behind him was projected a Presidential Seal that had been altered satirically.

Image by UPI/Barcroft Media in

The Turning Point USA eagle wasn’t an American one. It resembled the two-headed eagle of the Russian coat of arms. The bird didn’t grasp arrows sinister, but golf clubs. And rather than celebrating unity out of many, the inscription read “45 ES UN TÍTERE,” Spanish for “45 is a puppet.”

Coat of arms of today’s Russian Federation.

The current Russian Federation modified earlier Russian coats of arms dating as far back as medieval times. To put it politely, the most recent one celebrating the czars fell into disfavor in Russia’s 1917 revolution.

Greater Coat of Arms of the Russian Empire, 1882–1917.

Czars evidently subscribed to the notion that if a little heraldry is good, a lot more is a lot better.

Common to old and new Russian coats of arms are a two-headed eagle and St. George slaying a dragon. The eagle’s dual heads and crowns once suggested domination of the Near East and West. Today, they stand for unity and sovereignty of Russia.

St. George had a rather more difficult time surviving 1917. He is, after all, a saint. And honored by the English. Today’s Russian rider is not specifically referred to as St. George. To some, he looks more like a shirtless Putin wearing a wig.

Back to the Turning Point USA and its wonderful snafu: Needless to say, that organization fired the individual in charge of the video presentation. I’d like to think SNL has a place for this creative soul.

And, as a last bit of satire, isn’t it a hoot to see Trump applauding himself in front of the altered Presidential Seal? There was a time when only Chairmen of the People’s Republic of China applauded themselves. ds

© Dennis Simanaitis,, 2019

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