Aventura, Florida: One sticker has a Photoshopped image of US President Donald Trump standing on a tank, haloed by fireworks with an American flag behind him. “Dishonest Media” reads another one, the CNN logo affixed to it. And then there are the memes expressing support for the president and animosity towards his critics.
A white van plastered with these and other bombastic stickers was seized from a South Florida shopping centre on Friday morning, in connection with Cesar Sayoc, a man the federal authorities have charged with mailing a string of packaged bombs to a range of high-profile Democrats.
The van authorities believe Cesar Sayoc owned.Credit:Twitter/Mahmud Mohamed
Photographs of the van, believed to be Sayoc's mode of transportation and his home, is a kind of Facebook feed on wheels. Many of the decals appear to show widely circulated conspiratorial internet memes Sayoc himself posted in repetitive bursts on his social media accounts.
“He communicates in meme,” said Jonathan Albright, a researcher at the Tow Centre for Digital Journalism at Columbia University who has analysed Sayoc's social media accounts. “The van is basically his identity, in meme.”
Several of the political decals portray those who received some of the 13 packages the FBI linked to Sayoc, including CNN, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and former attorney-general Eric Holder. George Soros, the billionaire Democratic donor and another bomb target, also appears to be on a sticker.
Cesar Sayoc shown in a booking photo in Miami. Credit:Broward County Sheriff
The back windows of the van bear American flag stickers and are covered with paeans to God, the military and the president. Some of the lettering is covered with new decals, suggesting Sayoc was updating his messaging.
Soccer is also a theme: North Carolina college soccer teams are praised on the back windows. “Top Youth Soccer Recruits for Trump,” reads one decal. Others refer to the Seminole Tribe of Florida.
But most of the van is devoted to pro-Trump, anti-Democrat messages that seem to have been cut and pasted directly from Facebook and Twitter.
His van appeared in his social feed, too, with photographs of van decals — a jumble of slogans like "We Vote Pro-Life" and "Americans & Americans First"— posted to Sayoc's Twitter feed.
A collage on a right-rear window, which also appears on a window on the left side, features campaign images of Trump and Vice-President Mike Pence. A slogan closer to the front of the van reads: “I am Donald Trump & I Approve This Message.”
Other images portray prominent liberal critics of Trump, including filmmaker Michael Moore and Jill Stein, a Green Party candidate for president, whose face appears in crosshairs.
FBI agents cover a van parked in Plantation, Florida.Credit:AP
Then there are the memes. “The Swamp to Be Drained,” for instance, invokes Trump's “Drain the swamp” campaign slogan, and shows prominent Democrats and media figures in a swamp, along with phrases such as “Not Enforcing Immigration Laws” and “Clinton's Illegal Email Server” and the Black Lives Matter logo.
Another shows a photo of people running and is captioned “Millions of liberals cross the border illegally into Mexico to escape Donald Trump's presidency.” Larger text above it reads: “I Have a Dream.”
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