Charleston, W. Va. (WOWK) – A West Virginia man wants answers tonight after discovering an iconic photo of his father in the controversial Mueller report.
Lee, the father of Ronnie Hipshire, spent decades as a miner. Photojournalist Earl Dotter perfectly captured his ambition and determination in an iconic image from 1976.
"He knew he had a good image from the beginning," said Hipshire.
His face is familiar to anyone who has ever purchased a UMWA manual for miners.
"This picture is seen around the world," said Hipshire. "Your Google" coal miner "and this image is usually displayed."
It was seen on music CDs in England. It was even on the cover of a 1978 magazine. Although they had misunderstood something, he changed the color of his hat from black to red.
"A red hat means a new miner, someone who just started in the mine," said Hipshire. "Here my dad had 30 years with him at the time of this picture, so everyone joked and joked about it."
What was not laughing, Ronnie discovered a few days ago that the same picture was used by Russians who were targeted against miners at a 2016 Pittsburgh rally. They illegally put it on a Pro Trump poster, which is documented on page 31 of the now famous report.
"They only know that the Russians stole the picture and used it in campaign meetings," Hipshire exclaimed. "We do not know how, we do not know why, all we know is that they used it over and over to improve the Trump campaign."
Ironically, Ronnie says his father did not support this mission.
"My dad was a staunch democrat," said Hipshire. "He would not like that at all."
It's a feeling Ronnie shares: "My answer would have been no, it's ultimately up to Earl Dotter because he owns the rights to the picture, but I know Earl, and he would have said no."
Lee Hipshire died in 1987 at the age of 57 years of black lung complications.
One of Ronnie's most memorable moments was the image of his father in the Smithsonian, where it permanently hangs in the National Portrait Gallery of the institution.