President Trump held a Cabinet meeting for TV cameras on Wednesday afternoon, but it was a curious prop got the most reaction on Twitter.
Spread out on the table in front of Trump was what appeared to be a poster-sized printout of a meme he tweeted a few months ago: A takeoff on Game of Thrones’ logo and most popular catchphrase. “Sanctions are Coming,” read the text over a picture of the president. “November 5.”
Trump originally tweeted the graphic ahead of increasing sanctions on Iran.
The poster’s presence today raised many questions, considering that this is January and that Trump was talking mostly not about Iran sanctions but his long-promised, repeatedly rebuffed-by-Congress border wall, over which he has partially shut down the federal government for 12 days.
First, there was a bit of disbelief.
What’s up with the movie poster https://t.co/HgpUXbT1Pt
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) January 2, 2019
Why is the “Sanctions Are Coming” poster on the table? pic.twitter.com/Be4vjHk8s1
— Evan Rosenfeld (@Evan_Rosenfeld) January 2, 2019
oh….. oh no https://t.co/uOeQ6z7M7X
— Jared Holt (@jaredlholt) January 2, 2019
…thafuk is that “Game of Thrones”-looking “Sanctions Are Coming” movie poster about? pic.twitter.com/KBIYNVy0ND
— Jon Zal (@OfficialJonZal) January 2, 2019
Then some pointed out that if Trump intended the meme to be a statement on the border wall negotiations, there was some unhelpful irony in it. Noted Washington Post correspondent Robert Costa: “I don’t want to spoil it, but the wall in ‘Game of Thrones’ has… some trouble in season 7. I’ll leave it there.”
The poster is a play off “Game of Thrones.”
I don’t want to spoil it, but the wall in “Game of Thrones” has… some trouble in season 7. I’ll leave it there.https://t.co/avV0wdEK7v
— Robert Costa (@costareports) January 2, 2019
“Walls Work, Trump Says In Front Of Poster Parodying Show Based On Premise That They Don’t,” said Twitter user Brandon Hardin.
Walls Work, Trump Says In Front Of Poster Parodying Show Based On Premise That They Don’t https://t.co/W0Lks9oafz
— Brandon Hardin (@hardin) January 2, 2019
Ask a Roman historian what happened to Hadrian’s, the Chinese what happened to theirs, the French what happened to the Maginot Line and the former Soviets what happened to the one that divided Berlin. https://t.co/u3yCDjSJ2U
— Jonathan Landay (@JonathanLanday) January 2, 2019
Maybe don’t beg for a wall with a poster inspired by a show where a wall doesn’t work. pic.twitter.com/nNsRqzXyih
— Gerry Duggan (@GerryDuggan) January 2, 2019
As far as Trump’s intentions in displaying the poster, the president provided no help on that front: He didn’t address it during the 95-minute meeting.
Democrats have criticized Trump for refusing to sign a continuing resolution to keep the government open, which was passed by the Republican-held Senate, forcing a showdown over the wall. Considering that a majority of Americans don’t support a wall, and the Republican-controlled House and Senate refused to fund it, they say it’s a function of his own ego. Some Twitter users said the poster display was more of the same.
He literally has a poster of his own face as the centerpiece of his meeting. pic.twitter.com/nFUSCh9OMz
— Kristin Mink (@KristinMinkDC) January 2, 2019
Trump has a poster of himself on the table of his meeting where he’s talking about working with others. https://t.co/0IdiLBEuec
— Alex Wind (@al3xw1nd) January 2, 2019
The President conducted a Cabinet Meeting with a poster sized photo of himself on the Desk…
Our Government is literally the plot of Idiocracy.
— Ryan Hill (@RyanHillMI) January 2, 2019
HBO didn’t immediately comment about Trump’s appropriation of their hit show. But in November, the network scolded him about the version he tweeted. “We were not aware of this messaging and would prefer our trademark not be misappropriated for political purposes,” a network spokesperson said then.
Last year, Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin compared Trump to the saga’s petulant, sadistic teenage King Joffrey. “I think Joffrey is now the king in America,” said Martin. “And he’s grown up just as petulant and irrational as he was when he was 13 in the books.”
Today, Entertaiment Weekly recalled that one of its reporters was on the Game of Thrones set on Election Day 2016, when one of the show’s writers took issue with the Trump/Joffrey comparison: “People keep writing that his election is ‘just like Game of Thrones,'” said the unnamed scribe. “F— you. Even Joffrey spoke in articulate sentences. I prefer Westeros, where politics makes sense.”