Politics Comedy

An Eau Claire Man’s Trump-Trolling Sign Made the Internet Great Again

Tom Giffey, photos by Tom Giffey |

UW-Eau Claire Dustin Zebro
UW-Eau Claire student Dustin Zebro and his protest sign. 

A bit of Donald Trump-style braggadocio turned a UW-Eau Claire student’s hand-lettered sign into an Internet sensation.

We’re talking a huuuuuuuge number of hits, folks. It’s fantastic.

UWEC senior Dustin Zebro was one of more than 100 peaceful demonstrators who gathered outside Memorial High School in Eau Claire last Saturday to show their opposition to the Republican presidential frontrunner, who was speaking inside. Before the rally, Zebro recalled one of Trump’s trademark bold claims and converted it into humorous sign fodder. “I know signs. I make the best signs. Everyone agrees,” he wrote in black marker on white poster board.

(In case you don’t get the joke, The Donald declared in December that, “I know words, I have the best words,” while in November he said, “I have the world’s greatest memory. It’s one thing everyone agrees on.”)

“Quite a few yelled across and said, ‘You do have the best signs,’ ” he recalled. “I even got a few picture with Trump supporters. It was very friendly.”

If there was one thing at the Eau Claire Trump event that everyone agreed on, it was that Zebro’s sign was really, really funny – and apparently the Internet agreed. A user of the website Reddit posted a shapshot of Zebro and his sign online, and it quickly went viral. By the next morning, it had made the front page of Reddit – which essentially meant that it was among the hottest things on the Web. As of Friday, the original post by Reddit user StrachNasty (a.k.a. Jason Strachan) had received more than 5,300 upvotes and 2,100 comments, while the picture itself had 2.2 million views (and counting) on the image-hosting service Imgur.

Zebro awoke Sunday morning to texts and Facebook messages from friends who saw the picture blowing up the Internet. “I figured people would see it,” he says, “(but) I didn’t realized it would get concentrated in one place and spread all over.”

The original photo.
The original photo.

The sign got some attention from traditional media as well, particularly overseas. An article ran on the website of The Telegraph, one of Britain’s biggest newspapers. (The headline: “This anti-Trump protester makes the best signs. They're terrific.”) Stories also popped up in the Irish Examiner, Metro.co.uk, Yahoo News UK, and elsewhere. (They really liked the sign across the pond, apparently.)

Zebro says he stood for two and a half hours holding the sign without getting nasty feedback. “I actually didn’t get one negative comment the whole time,” he says.

If there’s anything Trump likes more than exaggerations, it’s insults, but Zebro says he stood for two and a half hours holding the sign without getting nasty feedback. “I actually didn’t get one negative comment the whole time,” he says.

“Quite a few yelled across and said, ‘You do have the best signs,’ ” he recalled. “I even got a few picture with Trump supporters. It was very friendly.”

The same went for the entire atmosphere of the rally outside Memorial. While tempers – and even violence – have flared between Trump fans and foes at rallies around the nation, the Eau Claire gathering was notably civil and even good-natured. Trump supporters lined up on the sidewalk and demonstrators standing in the street even tossed a football back and forth and sang along to Queen songs playing from a boombox.

As organizer Jordan Duroe wrote on Facebook, “Not only did numerous police officers come through the line to say thanks for how we conducted ourselves, but a reporter who has been on the road following Trump rallies all over the country and has seen other protests and clashes told me ‘this was something different!’ ”

As Trump himself would say, that’s very, very, very classy.

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