The “plaid shirt guy” who went viral for his facial expressions at President Trump’s Montana rally Thursday said he was asked to leave by secret service for not being enthusiastic enough.
On Thursday, Tyler Linfesty stood behind Trump, in full view of many cameras, and listened to the president speak on various subjects, including tax reform and the media. However, the high schooler stood out because of his animated facial expressions, that ranged from bewildered to skeptical. He quickly turned into into a meme and earned him the name “plaid shirt guy.”
Linsfesty told CNN’s Don Lemon that he is actually a Democratic Socialist and that he signed up to go to the rally a week before with his three friends because he wanted to go to see the president and hear what he had to say.
“I’m not going to pass up the chance to see the president of the United States” he told Lemon.
Linfesty told local paper the Billings Gazette that he found out that morning he had been selected to attend the rally and meet the president. He contacted the president’s campaign and asked to reserve seats for his friends.
He said him and his friends did not have an agenda and had an open mind before attending.
“I didn’t really have a plan,” Linfesty told the Gazette. “I was just going to clap for things I agreed with and not clap for things I didn’t agree with.”
Linfesty told CNN’s Lemon that all his facial expressions were honest.
“All of those reactions were my actual reactions,” he said. “I would of made those faces if anyone were to say that to me. I was not trying to protest, those were just my actual, honest reactions.”
Linfesty admitted he always wondered about the genuineness of the people at Trump rallies.
“Each time I see one of these rallies I see somebody behind Donald Trump clapping and cheering and being super enthusiastic and I’ve always wondered myself, are those people being really genuine?” he told Lemon. “So when I got back there I knew I was going to be really genuine and give my actual reaction to the things he said so when I disagreed with him, you could tell I disagreed but when I did agree with him I clapped as well.”
Linfesty said two talking points he could agree with was when Trump railed against NAFTA, and said the 2016 primary election was stolen from Bernie Sanders. Where Linfesty could not find common ground was with Trumps tax plan, which he believes benefits the top 1% and not the middle class.
According to the Gazette, one of its reporters saw Trump staffers reviewing a photo of Linfesty and the Democratic Socialist of America rose emblem he wore before removing Linfesty and his friends.
“I saw this woman walking toward me on the left,” Linfesty told the paper. “She just said to me, ‘I’m going to replace you.’”
He said prior to attending the rally the were told the had to be enthusiastic and tried to get him to wear the presidents famous MAGA hat, which he refused.
Once him and his two friends were replaced on stage, he said he was escorted by secret service into a back room where they looked at his ID and after 10 minutes told him he could leave. He said Secret Service and police treated him respectfully.
“They treated me fine,” he told the Gazette. “They just told me not to come back.”
Linfesty told CNN he still cannot believe his newfound fame
“It feels unbelievable I cant comprehend it,” he told CNN’s Lemon. “The last 24 hours have been insane, people at school recognize me as the ‘plaid shirt guy.’”