Hundreds of attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Maryland Friday waved flags in support of U.S. President Donald Trump with a familiar red, white & blue appearance.
While they are the colours of the American flag, in this case CPAC attendees were actually waving Russian flags with Trump’s name on them.
CPAC organizers were quick to spot the faux pas and attendants were sent around to collect the flags to spare further embarrassment.
Jason Charter and Ryan Clayton, of the group Americans Take Action, were the brains behind the operation. They purchased tickets to the conference ahead of Trump’s speech and handed out approximately 1,000 flags.
“Most people didn’t realize it was a Russian flag, or they didn’t care,” Charter told Atlantic Magazine.
The pair say that rather than being a “false-flag” operation, it was a “true-flag operation.”
“It shows how Trump and Russia are connected, they are like peas in a pod,” Clayton told Atlantic Magazine.
Trump’s campaign staff were reportedly in constant contact with Russian operatives leading up the election while it is also believed the Russian government attempted to sway the election results.
The president has also expressed his admiration for Russian president Vladmir Putin on several occasions.
Organizers were quick to eject Clayton, but Charter managed to evade staff for a time.
One person in attendance told the Los Angeles Times they were shoved into his hand out of context so he didn’t clue in to what was happening.
“He was dressed like any one of us,” Tyler Dever, 20, a student at the University of South Florida in Tampa, who was wearing a suit, told the Los Angeles Times. “He passed them to me and was like, ‘Pass them down, pass them down.’ ”
He said he was surprised Charter and Clayton were able to get past security and felt like it was an attempt to victimize him.
“Someone tried to victimize me,” Dever said. “You have Secret Service out here, and I’d expect it to be fully screened. … Thank God someone noticed.”