Trump administration orders removal of Black Lives Matter banner from U.S. Embassy in Seoul

The official reason for the removal is, according to a report from CNN, that Black Lives Matter refers to a “non-profit organization” in addition to being a nationwide rallying cry, and the Donald Trump-led government can’t (cough) be seen as encouraging support for a specific organization. It could be seen as a violation of the Hatch Act, and everybody knows that the Trump team are sticklers when it comes to not running afoul of the Hatch Act.

More to the point, everybody also knows that the Trump administration only tolerates promotion of for-profit groups, not nonprofit ones, and only if those businesses belong to Donald Trump or one of Trump’s more loyal supporters. If the U.S. embassy wanted to display a multistory banner promoting one of Trump’s various hotels or golf courses, now that would be allowed. A rallying cry that could possibly be construed as support for a nonprofit despite the embassy saying it was in support for the protests at large, though, is right out.

Curiously, however, there is an additional catch to all this. At the time time the embassy removed the Black Lives Matter banner from the building, it also removed a LGBTQ Pride banner that had been hanging directly above it. There is no similar confusion as to whether the rainbow flag represents a non-profit group or a movement, and neither Time nor CNN have so far been able to get any clarification as to why that banner was removed as well. Was it also done on order of the State Department, or not?

Nobody will say, which is usually a sure sign that Mike Pompeo has f–ked with something again. Embassies have been allowed to fly those flags, so long as they do not fly from the same flagpole as the U.S. flag, so an order to remove that, too, would be a change.

*story by Daily Kos