Va. DMV orders driver to hand over ‘obscene’ Trump license plate

WASHINGTON — A Virginia man has lost an appeal to keep his personalized license plate which reads “FTRU MPK” because it appears to contain an obscene message about President Donald Trump.

Donald Butler, a former teacher and lawyer, has the personalized plates on his Lexus SUV. Butler originally received a letter from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles in May, ordering him to turn over his plates because they violated state guidelines.

In August, Butler argued his case in an informal conference at DMV headquarters.

Now, DMV Commissioner Richard Holcomb has issued a four-page ruling, dissecting the argument over the meaning of the personalized plate.

“You asserted that the “F” and “K” when read together meant “flunk,” the grade that you as a former teacher give Donald Trump as President of the United States,” Holcomb wrote.

However, Holcomb described in several paragraphs that he believed the “F” and “K” stand for a word other than “flunk.”

“The character combination reasonably could be perceived by members of the general public to be profane, obscene, or vulgar,” Holcomb wrote.

“I think the decision is wrong because my choice of message should not be rejected because a select group of people want to ascribe an evil and profane meaning to the lettering,” Butler told WTOP, in an email.

“It was quite likely that the complainers as well the members of the Committee (found) it offensive personally,” said Butler.

Holcomb disagreed.

“There is no information to indicate a political bias on the part of the anonymous citizens or the Committee members.,” he wrote. “I hereby affirm DMV’s cancellation of the license plates “FTRU MPK,” Holcomb concluded.

Butler has said he will appeal the ruling to a circuit court judge.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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