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The Guardian - US
The Guardian - US
Kari Paul

Trump ‘unified reich’ video reportedly traced to Turkish designer’s template

Donald Trump wearing black jacket and red tie
Donald Trump in the Bronx on Friday. Photograph: Andrea Renault/Zuma/Rex/Shutterstock

A video posted on social media by Donald Trump referencing a “unified reich” has been traced to a template made by a Turkish designer more than a year ago, according to a report from CNN.

Critics, including Joe Biden, condemned Trump over a video posted to his Truth Social account on Monday featuring a hypothetical headline from his second presidential term reading “industrial strength significantly increased … driven by the creation of a unified reich”.

The German word “reich” is heavily associated with Nazism, as Adolf Hitler referred to his regime as the “Third Reich”. The video raised alarm for Trump critics, who note the former president frequently echoes Nazi rhetoric – particularly in his language surrounding immigration.

According to a new report from CNN, the video was made using a template from graphic designer Enes Şimşek, who lives near Istanbul. The template was available on stock footage and video effects resource Video Hive and was created at least a year ago, the network reported, confirming that it was not created by the Trump campaign for this specific use.

The Trump campaign stated the post was not an official campaign video and was reposted by a staffer who had not noticed the word.

The campaign did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment.

The language in the video was reportedly copied verbatim from a Wikipedia article on the first world war, which read: “German industrial strength and production had significantly increased after 1871, driven by the creation of a unified reich”.

Şimşek confirmed to CNN he put in the Wikipedia information filler text for customers to replace with their own wording, which the video shared by Trump did not do. He said he had sold 16 copies of the template at a rate of $21 each.

“When I was doing this job, I never even thought that one day such an event would happen,” Şimşek said in a blogpost explaining the incident. “[Two] days ago this template was used as Trump’s campaign video. But I guess they forgot to change some of the text when they edited the project. And things grew very mad.”

Following Trump’s posting of the video, the Biden campaign cited other previous comments and actions from Trump sympathizing with Nazism, including his claims that Hitler “did some good things” and praising neo-Nazi marchers during the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville.

“Donald Trump is not playing games; he is telling America exactly what he intends to do if he regains power: rule as a dictator over a ‘unified reich’,” a Biden spokesperson, James Singer, said in a statement.

“Parroting Mein Kampf while you warn of a bloodbath if you lose is the type of unhinged behavior you get from a guy who knows that democracy continues to reject his extreme vision of chaos, division and violence.”

Şimşek was told by the video tool site to remove the language from his template, which he has now done. “By the way, thank you to Trump for choosing my template,” he said.

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