The high school senior whose varied facial expressions while seated behind Donald Trump at a rally in Montana were visible on TV and went viral has given an interview. Tyler Linfesty describes how he and two friends Erik Hovland and Christian Dunlap ended up with choice seats before being asked to vacate them by Trump staffers who noticed their marked lack of constant smiles and enthusiastic applause, which apparently are requirements if you are to be behind Trump.
Though the group’s lack of enthusiasm was evident at times, all three did clap at various points during Trump’s speech.
Early on in the Trump rally, a Billings Gazette reporter saw staffers in the press pen looking at a photo in which Linfesty was circled.
Later Linfesty pinned a stylized rose emblem representing the Democratic Socialists of America to his right breast. The same group of staffers reviewed a photo of the emblem and searched online for more information. A short while later, Linfesty was removed.
Linfesty said he also had a picture taken by the Trump campaign before the rally while he was wearing the DSA rose and posing with the president. He has not seen the picture since, he said Friday. As a joke, he also gave a copy of the “Communist Manifesto” wrapped with an “Art of the Deal” cover to Secret Service in hopes of having the president sign it. Agents did not grant his request, and the president didn’t sign the book, he said.
“I didn’t do it because I’m a communist,” Linfesty said. “I did it because I thought it was funny as a joke.”
“I don’t think we meant to make a joke of the rally or make fun of people there,” Dunlap said. “It wasn’t like we were making fun of Trump supporters.”
At the same time, they didn’t want to misrepresent their views.
“They told us while we were sitting there, ‘You guys have to keep clapping, you have to smile, you have to look enthusiastic,'” Linfesty said. “I had to be honest in my views.”
I was glad to hear that Linfesty says he wants to study physics in college. The world of physics can always use more people with progressive political sensibilities and a zany sense of humor.