Trump’s ‘unified Reich’ video is traced back to graphic designer in Turkey

Trump’s ‘unified Reich’ video is traced back to graphic designer in Turkey

The Trump campaign stirred up controversy this week when it posted a video about the former president with an old-fashioned newsreel style.

On a mock-up newspaper, with the headline, “What’s next for America?,” text could be seen reading, “Industrial strength significantly increased drive by the creation of a unified Reich.”

The former president, it seemed, was openly invoking the history of Nazi Germany as part of his campaign, and he was swiftly condemned by the White House.

The Trump campaign, for its part, insisted a staffer reposted an outside video without noticing the text on the image, and now the story has a new wrinkle: the “unified Reich” phrase, along with the entire mock newspaper setup, was part of a motion graphics template created by a Turkish graphic designer.

Enes Şimşek, who lives near Istanbul, told CNN he made the template last May and listed it on an online marketplace. The “unified Reich” line was placeholder text, drawn from a description of WWI-era Germany.

“I love all the American people,” he said, adding that he doesn’t follow US or Turkish politics. “And please calm down. This is just a template. And, also, I’m not a Nazi.”

He said he still couldn’t quite believe that the template, which he sold to a small handful of buyers for $21 each, was now causing ripples in Washington.

“I didn’t know it is my power to change politics … I don’t know what could be crazier than that,” he said. “Imagine if your work shakes a country.”

Mr Trump has been accused of invoking fascist ideas in the past, including his repeated assertions that immigrants are “destroying the blood” of America.

During the 2020 presidential campaign debates, he also infamously refused to condemn the Proud Boys, and told the far-right group to “stand back and stand by.”

During his 2024 campaign, Mr Trump has continued to align himself with right-wing violence, hosting his first campaign rally in Waco, Texas, the site of a notorious battle between a religious sect and the federal government that galvanised the far right and set the stage for the modern militia movement.