Donald Trump’s Campaign Has Circulated an Artist’s Satirical Newspaper Front Page Declaring Al Gore’s Presidential Win in 2000

The image was shared in a tweet by the Trump campaign's communications director.

"President Gore," by Emperor Norton, via Deviant Art.

More than a week after Election Day and several days after Democratic candidate Joe Biden secured the 2020 US presidential election, President Donald Trump has declined to concede, prompting widespread concerns that he will refuse to leave the White House based on suspicion of mail-in ballots, which leaned Democrat and were counted more slowly than in-person votes, which was more heavily Republican.

Fittingly enough, in an era of disinformation and fake news, some of it spread by the President and his allies, the Trump campaign itself, in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the media’s reporting on Biden’s win, used an artwork that referred to an earlier controversy around an election.

On Sunday morning, Tim Murtaugh, the communications director for Trump’s campaign, tweeted an image of an artwork showing a Washington Times front page reading “President Gore,” referring to notoriously inaccurate Election Night media forecasts in the 2000 race between Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Republican George W. Bush that said Florida would go for Gore, potentially handing him the presidency.

In his tweet, Murtaugh showed a morale-boosting image of the kitchen at Trump headquarters, which staffers apparently plastered with images of the faux front page.

After the Washington Times informed Murtaugh that the front page was fake, he deleted the tweet.

The New York Post first reported the story. The sleuths at Buzzfeed News then tracked the image down to the website DeviantArt as the work of an artist whose handle is Emperor Norton.

Emperor Norton has also created faux newspaper covers reporting Ronald Reagan‘s death in 1981; Richard Nixon‘s assassination in Dallas, Texas; and President Nixon’s re-election to a fifth term in office.

In choosing the faux Washington Times, the Trump team passed over the classic—and actual—image of President Harry S. Truman holding aloft a banner headline published by the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1948, declaring “Dewey Defeats Truman.” (Relying on, you guessed it, polls, the Tribune incorrectly named New York Governor Thomas Dewey as the victor.)

The 2000 Election Night margins were razor thin, and several major media outlets called Florida for Al Gore, then for Bush overnight, before later deciding the state was too close to call.

“We don’t just have egg on our face,” NBC’s Tom Brokaw said. “We have an omelette.”

The 2000 recounts became so contentious that they ended up in the Supreme Court, which handed Bush the presidency. Trump apparently continues to believe that the Supreme Court, where three Trump appointees sit, will declare him the winner.

Artists often use newspapers’ front pages to create satirical commentary. In May 2019, the Yes Men distributed a faked copy of the Washington Post featuring the headline “Unpresidented,” reporting that Trump had abandoned the White House, leaving only a napkin scrawled with the message “Blame Crooked Hillary & Hfior & the Fake News Media.” Aides were supposedly unable to explain the significance of “Hfior.”

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