The logo accompanying the Jan. 25 statement announcing “The Office of the Former President” illustrates both visually and figuratively how Donald Trump’s post-presidency deviates from norms set by his predecessors. This was painfully obvious on Saturday when the Senate acquitted Trump for the second time. Immediately thereafter, “Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States” – under the logo doubling as his battle emblem – issued a defiant statement, including, “Our historic, patriotic and beautiful movement to Make America Great Again has only just begun.” This rallying cry proves that the (still) angry man behind the faux presidential seal logo is further emboldened to exercise power and seek revenge.
It is no graphic design coincidence that Trump’s newly-minted logo resembles the authentic Presidential Seal — albeit with enough subtle differences to fend off legal action. Displayed in curved words, “THE OFFICE OF” tops the circular, slightly altered presidential seal, with “DONALD J. TRUMP” at the bottom in larger, straight type. The overall effect conveys power and action in real-time, without a hint of “former.”
The authoritative-looking logo symbolizes Trump’s post-presidential mission — an unquenchable desire to continue wielding power over the Republican Party, either real or imagined.
Currently, it’s real — with 75 percent of Republicans wanting to see “Trump play a prominent role in their party,” according to a newly released Quinnipiac University poll. Trump supporters are the Republican Party and the reason why all except seven Senate Republicans acquitted him on the charge of inciting an insurrection.
Trump’s intention to remain politically active is precisely what graphically distinguishes his logo from those of former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Let’s compare the designs.
On Obama’s website homepage, his small unobtrusive post-presidential office logo tops the left column and also appears on the bottom of the page. The logo is set on a black background with no outline shape. The white type reads, “THE OFFICE OF BARACK AND MICHELLE OBAMA” under a white presidential-looking eagle. Obama’s logo conveys dignified, non-aggressive power with no design fanfare.
Notably absent is the need to mimic the round presidential seal that screams, “clinging to presidential power” — subconsciously broadcasted by Trump’s seal. Also telling is how Obama’s logo officially and graciously shares power with his “better half.”
The logo atop George W. Bush’s website is equally dignified. The iconic gold presidential eagle floats on a white background and underneath, in blue type, reads: “Office of George W. Bush.” Absent again is any hint of the circular presidential seal. Is there is an unwritten rule that former presidents should avoid using the round seal shape? After all, the seal is revered, respected and only associated with the current White House occupant, until recently hijacked and remodeled by Trump. But at least the twice-impeached former president is consistent — choosing to ignore the seal-logo “rule” after breaking or ignoring dozens of traditional rules while in office.
On Bill Clinton’s and Jimmy Carter’s websites, no presidential logos are displayed. After being out of power for decades, a presidential logo might have looked dated. Instead, Clinton’s and Carter’s sites focus on their domestic and global philanthropy efforts.
Now let’s further examine Trump’s post-presidential office announcement and seal logo debut along with his Feb. 13 statement. At this writing on the official URL, 45office.com, the logo is the only content. That’s proof that words are non-essential when the logo is your message. (And be thankful that the logo does not read “The Real President” under his name.)
The Jan. 25 press release chronicled how Trump intends to stay in the spotlight:
The Office “will advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump Administration through advocacy, organizing, and public activism.” The last sentence read: “President Trump will always and forever be a champion for the American People.”
The Feb. 13 statement heralds more aggressive future action. Besides stating that the MAGA movement “has only just begun,” it reads “We have so much work ahead of us and soon will emerge with a vision for a bright, radiant and limitless American future.”
Gone are the days when former presidents laid low, wrote their memoirs, planned their library and played golf. Instead, Trump’s edicts sound like mandates, as though he were newly inaugurated with less time for golf. And of course, topping his agenda will be punishing Republican officeholders who voted for impeachment or conviction or anyone deemed “disloyal.” It’s a grand departure from normal post-presidential activity.
Republicans, by acquitting Trump, ensured that he will be the most disruptive, vindictive, attention-grabbing and powerful former president in history — while flirting with a comeback to stay in the headlines.
Most important, “The Office of Donald J. Trump” has an overarching mission embodied in its logo and first commandment — “Thou Shall Not Be Ignored.”
Myra Adams writes about politics and religion for numerous publications. She is a RealClearPolitics contributor and writes a Sunday Bible study on Townhall. She served on the creative team of two GOP presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008. Follow her on Twitter @MyraKAdams.