Former President Donald Trump is scheduled to speak today at the Conservative Political Action Conference, commonly known as CPAC, to close out a four-day medley of leading GOP keynote speakers. Earlier in the weekend, prominent Republican figures including Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, Ted Cruz, Tom Cotton, and John Hawley spoke from the stage in hopes of appealing to Trump’s base live from an Orlando Hyatt hotel and streamed on Fox News.
When Trump takes the same stage for the final keynote, he is expected to continue the big lie about a mythical stolen election. And when he does so, Trump will be standing on an apparent forty-foot Nazi symbol.
That’s because the unique stage design closely resembles the Othala rune — a symbol of the far-right movement, and is a near-exact replica of its cousin, the Odal rune. To most, this may not be obvious. The most recognizable symbol adopted by Nazis in Germany is, of course, the swastika. But that’s not the only one the German military used.
In their quest to “reconstruct a mythic Aryan past,” according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Nazis adopted imagery from a runic alphabet system with origins dating to pre-Roman Europe. The Othala rune, they say in a page devoted to neo-Nazi and hate symbols, was used in the divisional insignia of two Waffen SS divisions during World War II. Since then, the ADL has noted its adoption by white supremacist groups across Europe and North America on group logos, flags, banners, and tattoos.
The ADL does caution that as “runes are still commonly used in a variety of non-racist forms, their appearance should always be carefully analyzed in context.” As such, care must be applied when investigating its apparent use in a highly televised event. But it begs the question as to whether the design was intended or was an event planning faux pas.
The similarities between the CPAC stage to the Odal rune appropriated by Nazis are uncanny. On display at Lofoten War Memorial Museum in Norway, an Allgemeine SS…