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Tweeting a meme inspired by the hit HBO fantasy saga, Trump’s post resembled the title font of Game of Thrones and contained the message: “No collusion. No obstruction. For the haters and the radical left Democrats — Game Over.” The meme also included a picture of Trump.
Attorney General William Barr discussed the Mueller report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election on Thursday ahead of the public release, announcing that the special counsel found “no evidence of Trump campaign collusion with the Russian government’s hacking.”
The Justice Department released a redacted version of the special counsel’s report later Thursday morning. Trump’s campaign said the results “fully and completely” exonerate the president. At a later event on Thursday, Trump said, “It was called no collusion, no obstruction. There never was, by the way, and there never will be. This should never happen to another president again, this hoax.” (Read the full, redacted report here.)
Trump’s Twitter reply reiterated his approval of the long-awaited findings.
“Though we can understand the enthusiasm for Game of Thrones now that the final season has arrived, we still prefer our intellectual property not be used for political purposes,” HBO said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter.
Over on NBC News, White House correspondent Hallie Jackson called Trump’s reaction to the news conference a “pre-report release victory lap,” noting that the president “clearly liked what he saw” from Barr.
“As we were watching it, I couldn’t help but think that the president must be thrilled and it appears he is,” said Jackson. “He is tweeting now, a riff off of the popular television show Game of Thrones writing simply, ‘game over.’… This is the president’s pre-report release victory lap, if you will. His administration is clearly trying to set what they believe is the narrative for this even before anybody … has had the chance to see the content of the report itself.”
Trump first borrowed the HBO trademark late last year when the president delivered a warning to Iran about reimposing all U.S. sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal. The meme warned, “Sanctions are coming,” a reference to the famous phrase from the series, “Winter is coming.”
“We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes,” said HBO in a statement at the time.
In the months since the president started using Game of Thrones-inspired imagery, HBO has taken no formal legal action. If claims of trademark dilution or infringement of trade dress were pursued, Trump would likely defend his posts as fair use of intellectual property in a culture where memes have spread wildly on social media.
The final season of Game of Thrones is currently airing on HBO.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 18, 2019
Eriq Gardner contributed to this report.
April 18, 9:45 a.m. Updated to include HBO statement.
April 18, 10:40 a.m. Updated to include Trump quotes.
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