Plaid Shirt Guy. If you don’t know who he is, he first grabbed national attention while standing behind President Donald Trump during his Billings, Montana rally appearance.
The young man was attention-grabbing because the plaid shirt he was wearing stood out so much from everyone else’s apparel. But that is not the only reason why “#plaidshirtguy” is getting so much attention.
During Trump’s speech, the plaid shirt guy continually made faces at the cameras and even mouthed words, seemingly in response to what Trump was saying. And at one point, he was busy doing something that turned out to be him putting on a pin.
Social media went crazy with his actions and the fact he was quickly replaced. What they didn’t know is that the Secret Service then met with him.
Some did, however, figure out that the pin he put on for the cameras was for the Democratic Socialist party.
— NoWar (@fingerhutnnyl) September 8, 2018
The young man has since been identified as Billings West High School student Tyler Linfesty. CNN posted on social media that Linfesty was removed from the rally because “he dared to question Trump.”
— CNN Opinion (@CNNOpinion) September 9, 2018
During an interview with CNN, Linfesty presented another possible cause for his removal. He said it could have been due to him not being enthusiastic the way they’d been asked to be prior to being placed behind the president.
However, the Billings Gazette wrote that one of their reporters at the event “saw staffers in the press pen looking at a photo in which Linfesty was circled.” Later, after he put on his pin, “The same group of staffers reviewed a photo of the emblem and searched online for more information. A short while later, Linfesty was removed.”
Linfesty told CNN that he wasn’t there to protest and that the exaggerated facial expressions he made as Trump spoke were just his honest reactions.
“I just wanted to go, just see the President and hear what he had to say. I mean, I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to see the President of the United States.”
“When I got back there, I knew that I was going to be genuine. I was going to give my actual reaction to the things he said. So whenever I disagree with him, you could tell that I disagreed. But whenever I agreed with him, you know, I clapped.”
But some on Twitter disagreed with his claim of not being there to protest, noting his other actions — along with some choice language.
You wear a democratic socialists of America pin to a @realDonaldTrump rally but you weren't trying to protest? Come on #plaidshirtguy everyone knows you were trying to start shit! #BeHonest @donlemon https://t.co/QY6awxyDW2
— David Preston (@dpreston2020) September 8, 2018
For example, he wasn’t initially wearing the Democratic Socialist rose. He put it on after he was already in place behind the president. When he is later approached by the woman who ultimately asks him to leave, it may appear that he is attempting to cover up the pin.
He told the Billings Gazette about other things he did, too. “Linfesty said he also had a picture taken by the Trump campaign before the rally while he was wearing the DSA rose and posing with the president. He has not seen the picture since, he said Friday.”
“As a joke, he also gave a copy of the ‘Communist Manifesto’ wrapped with an ‘Art of the Deal’ cover to Secret Service in hopes of having the president sign it. Agents did not grant his request, and the president didn’t sign the book, he said.”
According to The Washington Post, he asked to be behind the president and his request was granted. “Before I got the picture and the handshake with Donald Trump, I asked him if me and my friends could sit behind him.”
“I had no idea I was going to be on Trump’s shoulder. I didn’t know it was going to be so zoomed in right on me and my friends. I didn’t know it was going to be like that all.”
He told the Billings Gazette that he is not a communist and that the Secret Service “looked at his ID and then after about 10 minutes told him he could leave.” They “treated (him) fine,” but did tell him “not to come back.”
Linfesty has now become a cult hero to the left. They have even turned him into a meme for social media protests against Trump. One example:
— Dan (@dan_bruc) September 7, 2018
As for the high school senior, he told the Billings Gazette that he would like to go to college next year and that physics is his area of academic interest.
Only time will tell, though, if he will continue to wear plaid shirts and embrace his social media fame after graduation.
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