WASHINGTON, Oct 15 — The White House said yesterday that President Donald Trump “strongly condemns” a video depicting him shooting and stabbing media figures and political rivals that was shown at a conference for his supporters held at one of his Florida resorts.
In the internet meme—taken from a scene in the 2014 spy comedy Kingsman: The Secret Service—Trump’s head is superimposed on a man opening fire inside a “Church of Fake News.”
The victims, whose faces have been replaced with the logos of media outlets, include CNN, The Washington Post, the BBC, and the ABC, CBS and NBC television networks.
“The @POTUS @realDonaldTrump has not yet seen the video, he will see it shortly, but based upon everything he has heard, he strongly condemns this video,” White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said on Twitter.
Several hours after Grisham’s tweet, however, there had been no reaction from the president himself although he did tweet about several other subjects.
During the rampage, the Trump character strikes the late senator John McCain and torches the head of Senator Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential rival.
He throws Republican senator Mitt Romney to the ground and slams former president Barack Obama against a wall.
The organizer of last week’s three-day “American Priority” event—which was held at the president’s Trump National Doral Miami resort—said the clip was part of a “meme exhibit.”
The New York Times reported that the president’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., his former spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis were among the scheduled speakers.
The American Priority organizer said the “matter is under review.”
“American Priority rejects all political violence and aims to promote a healthy dialogue about the preservation of free speech,” Alex Phillips told The New York Times.
‘Endorsement of violence’
Media organizations have come under regular verbal attack from Trump and his supporters.
At rallies, the president frequently encourages the crowd to boo and heckle journalists covering the event, calling them “fake news” and “enemy of the people.”
Trump has previously tweeted a roughly edited video clip of him attacking a wrestler whose head had been superimposed with a CNN logo.
Democratic presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke were among those denouncing the video along with CNN and the White House Correspondents’ Association.
“Donald Trump uses his Twitter account to incite hate and violence,” Harris said. “So is it any surprise then that this kind of thing crops up? No.
“Trump is putting people’s lives at risk with his dangerous behavior,” the California senator said.
O’Rourke, the former Texas congessman, noted that Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc was jailed last year for mailing crude bombs to CNN and prominent Democrats.
“This video isn’t funny. It will get people killed,” O’Rourke said.
“This is not the first time that supporters of the President have promoted violence against the media in a video they apparently find entertaining, but it is by far and away the worst,” CNN said. — AFP