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‘I had to be honest in my views’: ‘Plaid shirt guy’ at Trump’s rally in Montana says he didn’t expect his facial expressions to be a viral hit

Matt Linden



A teenager wearing a plaid shirt who made several animated facial expressions during a Montana campaign rally featuring President Donald Trump has been identified as Tyler Linfesty, a 17-year-old high school senior, the Billings Gazette reported.

As Trump delivered remarks on Thursday night, Linfesty was positioned directly behind him and made several facial expressions before a staffer apparently asked him to leave. The high school senior’s reactions went viral the next morning and prompted amateur facial readers to analyze what he was saying.

“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.”

The teen was seen clapping at several points throughout Trump’s speech — including when Trump remarked on Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign and the North American Free Trade Agreement — but his facial reactions caught the most attention.

“They told us while we were sitting there, ‘you guys have to keep clapping, you have to smile, you have to look enthusiastic,'” Linfesty told the Gazette. “I had to be honest in my views.”

The high school student told the Montana newspaper he requested tickets to the rally earlier in the week. He said he never expected to be seated on-camera, right behind the president.

“It’s still hard for me to believe that people are recognizing me in the hallways as ‘plaid shirt guy’ now,” Linfesty said. “I don’t think any of us had any idea we were going to be that big on TV, because whenever I see a Trump rally, you see Trump, you see hundreds of people behind him — that’s my experience at least.”

“In this case, there were like seven people there,” Tyler added. “I did not know that I was going to be that big.”

Soon after Tyler pinned a rose emblem representing the Democratic Socialists of America on the right side of his shirt, a stand-in was sent to take his spot and he was asked to leave.

“I saw this woman walking toward me on the left,” Tyler said to The Gazette. “She just said to me, ‘I’m going to replace you.'”

Linfesty was later taken to a back room where police and Secret Service reportedly inspected his identification. “They treated me fine,” he said. “They just told me not to come back.”

Prior to the rally, Tyler managed to have his picture taken with Trump while wearing the Democratic Socialists emblem and also tried getting Trump to sign a copy of the “Communist Manifesto,” which was disguised as Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal,” according to the Gazette.

Tyler has yet to see the picture that was taken by campaign staffers and did not get his book signed.

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