It seemed like such a harmless occasion this morning when a group of ten-year-olds from Birmingham, Alabama’s Briarwood Christian School had what members of the mainstream media would consider the ‘dubious honor’ of meeting the President of the United States.
— ACM Tweet Bot (@acmtweetbot) March 7, 2017
That was eons ago, in Internet time, when a 10-year-old unwittingly fueled a conspiracy theory that has the potential to blow the lid off an underground world of secret Trump hand signals spreading across our land like a veritable wildfire.
As President Trump unveiled the White House tours, the excitement on their little cherubic faces was palpable. But beneath that angelic exterior lay a dark secret that has already begun tormenting the outer reaches of the Internet, aka Mediaite.
Pepe the Frog symbol? Or something more harmless, like an A-OK sign?? pic.twitter.com/4K8dKDq6gS
— Kyle Becker (@ijrviraleditor) March 8, 2017
Were there foul things afoot at the opening of the White House tours this fateful am? Witness exhibit A, this small child’s seeming “A-OK” hand signal.
An innocent hand gesture or the nefarious doings of Pepe the Frog?!?
And a bit too close for comfort to the gesture of these two wildmen, amirite?
— Jim Hoft (@gatewaypundit) February 13, 2017
You be the judge.
The meme was a go-to crowd pleaser during the presidential campaign, as Hillary’s own staff was all-too-eager to point out.
As Southern Poverty Law Center, the Anti-Defamation League, Hillary Clinton, and that creepy uncle who has been banned from Thanksgivings would be quick to tell you, Pepe the Frog is hate speech code, adopted by the alt-right and the nether regions of 4chan.
— Luis Eduardo (@Luisedgm) September 20, 2016
Or… not so much.
Whether people want to use an ironic talking frog to say idiotic things, racist things, or what-have-you, it is quite a leap of the imagination to take an “OK” symbol from a frog meme and ascribe sinister intentions to a small boy.
This kind of thing is far from an outlier, nowadays, sadly. Stephen Miller, adviser to the Trump administration, was connected to some kind of white supremacist gang symbols when in all actually he was…
— The Daily Edge (@TheDailyEdge) February 21, 2017
Perhaps the most high profile example of kids being attacked as a proxy for President Trump is his own son Barron. An SNL writer was suspended indefinitely after a media uproar over her “joke” that he could be the first “homeschool shooter.”
When it comes to President Trump, it appears that the unwritten rule that kids are off limits has gone out the window.
It’s a brave new world. Buckle up, kids.