Donald Trump’s Red Triangle Posts refers to a series of advertisements posted by the 2020 Donald Trump presidential campaign that features an image of a red upside-down triangle. Many online have pointed out that the red triangle was a symbol used by the Nazis to mark political prisoners and those who rescued Jews during the Holocaust. The Trump campaign has defended using the symbol, stating that the American anti-fascist movement known as Antifa had reclaimed the symbol. Critics of Trump contend that their use of the symbol is an overt dog whistle to white supremacists.
On June 17th, 2020, Fortune magazine editor John Buysse tweeted, “This Trump Facebook ad attacking Antifa uses an upside down red triangle that sure looks like a… checks notes Nazi concentration camp badge for “political prisoners, social democrats, socialists, communists and anarchists, rescuers of Jews, trade unionists, and Freemasons.” The tweet received more than 1,200 likes and 1,000 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
On June 17th, 2020, Twitter user @jewishaction tweeted, “The President of the United States is campaigning for reelection using a Nazi concentration camp symbol. Nazis used the red triangle to mark political prisoners and people who rescued Jews. Trump & the RNC are using it to smear millions of protestors. Their masks are off.” The tweet received more than 10,000 likes and 9,700 retweets in less than 24 hours (shown below).
Facebook announced that the ads were removed for violating Facebook‘s policy against organized hate. They said:
We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate. Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.
Trump Campaign Response
On June 18th, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign Tim Murtaugh said, “The red triangle is an antifa symbol.” The Washington Post writes that Murtaugh pointed to examples of “iPhone cases and water bottles branded with the insignia.”
The verified Trump campaign Twitter account @TrumpWarRoom refuted posts online. They wrote, “This is an emoji. 🔻 It’s also a symbol widely used by Antifa. It was used in an ad about Antifa. It is not in the ADL’s Hate Symbols Database” (shown below, left).
Reporter Jordan Uhl responded, “Google image search shows…..zero other uses of this pic outside of this tweet. Did they just make this to deflect?” The tweet received more than 1,000 likes and 185 retweets (shown below, right).
Searches for the red triangle as an antifa symbol, as reported by some, have been largely inconclusive. Though, there is one example available from the German anti-fascist group Antifa Utrecht. On August 27th, 2016, the group uploaded their logo which features a red triangle (shown below).
Several media outlets reported on the ad, including Washington Post, Forward, Media Matters and more.
On June 18th, Media Matters tweeted, “Facebook let the Trump campaign run 88 ads with inverted red triangle — an infamous Nazi symbol” (shown below, left). Some online saw the “88 ads” as another dog whistle to white supremacists, referencing the numerical code for “Heil Hitler” (example below, right). The post received more than 4,900 and 4,300 retweets in less than 24 hours.