On July 17, 2020, the Associated Press reported that the Pentagon had banned display of the Confederate flag on U.S. military installations in such a way as to “avoid the wrath” of President Trump, who had repeatedly defended retaining monuments and institutions named in honor of Confederate figures:
After weeks of wrangling, the Pentagon is banning displays of the Confederate flag on military installations, in a carefully worded policy that doesn’t mention the word ban or that specific flag. The policy, laid out in a memo, was described by officials as a creative way to bar the flag’s display without openly contradicting or angering President Donald Trump, who has defended people’s rights to display it.
Signed by Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the memo lists the types of flags that may be displayed at military installations. The Confederate flag is not among them — thus barring its display without singling it out in a “ban.”
Shortly afterwards, social media users began circulating an image of a purported tweet from Trump in which he railed against the ban and supposedly declared that “The flag is a tremendous part of our history,” that it’s a “symbol of LOVE!” and that “Plantations kept black people employed and gave them free food and housing!”:
This image was just a fabrication intended to mock the chief executive and not real tweet issued by Trump, however. Such a tweet did not appear in his Twitter timeline, it was not recorded in databases that track deleted tweets, and we found no other evidence that the alleged tweet had ever existed or been retweeted on the Twitter platform itself.