A Virginia man has run into trouble with the state's Department of Motor Vehicles because of his anti-Trump license plate.
The plate on Don Butler's Lexus SUV reads "FTRU MPK," reports the Daily Mail.
In May, the Virginia DMV sent Butler a letter demanding that he return the plate, having determined that it violates state rules against plates that are profane, obscene or vulgar, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports.
According to the DMV website, personalized plates cannot contain "any combination of characters that in any way carries a connotation which may reasonably be seen by a person viewing the license plate as: 1. Profane, obscene, or vulgar in nature."
It also stipulates that the DMV "reserves the right to recall and cancel any personalized license plate that was issued if the agency subsequently determines or discovers that the personalized license plate was not in compliance with these guidelines when issued or if, due to changing language usage, the personalized license plate has become non-compliant with these guidelines."
Butler, a former middle-school teacher and retired lawyer, is fighting the ruling, arguing his case at a hearing on Aug. 14.
“There’s no question that it’s an anti-Trump message,” he said in an Aug. 11 phone interview with the Times-Dispatch.
However, he contends that there's nothing profane, obscene, or vulgar about it. The F and K in the plate are the first and last letters of the word “flunk,” he explained, and the plate merely expresses his opinion that "Trump has flunked miserably."
"I have no idea what they think it means," he said with obvious sarcasm. "Apparently they’re trying to read something else into it."
He suspects someone was offended by the plate, and snitched on him to the DMV. “If somebody’s offended by the F and K ... well, they have a dirty mind," he asserted.
It's the "F" that seems to be the key offending factor, because the DMV sent Butler a printout of the Urban Dictionary entry under F, which defines it as slang for a popular obscenity that begins with that letter.
The DMV rules also state it "may consider bumper stickers, decals, magnets, pictures and/or any other material affixed to the vehicle which would influence how a person viewing the license plate would interpret the message conveyed by the character combination" on the personalized plate.
However, Butler's "Friends of Tibet" license plate frame was presumably not a factor in the DMV's ruling.
The first license plate was issued in 1901, when New York passed a law requiring motor vehicle owners to register with the state, reports Time magazine.
The law required license plates to include “the separate initials of the owner’s name placed upon the back thereof in a conspicuous place, the letters forming such initials to be at least three inches in height.”
A man named George F. Chamberlain received the first license plate issued.