A graphically violent video depicting a likeness of U.S. President Donald Trump shooting and stabbing members of the news media and Democratic politicians was shown at a conference for Trump supporters at his Miami resort, the New York Times reports.
In the video, which appears to have been posted to YouTube a year ago, Trump’s face is superimposed on a killer’s body as he violently assaults and kills the president’s critics and media members, who are depicted as parishioners fleeing his rampage in a church.
Among the fake Trump’s victims are former President Barack Obama, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and the late Sen. John McCain. Other victims seen inside the so-called “Church of Fake News” have media logos superimposed on their bodies, including NBC, Vice News, the Washington Post and Global News.
At the end of the video, the fake Trump rams a stake in the head of a victim with a CNN logo for a face, smiling as he admires his rampage.
The video was shown last week at an American Priority conference at Trump’s Doral Miami resort, the Times reported. Trump was not at the event, but his son Donald Trump Jr. and former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reportedly attended. Both denied seeing the video when asked by the Times.
The video includes a logo for Trump’s 2020 campaign, but according to the Times, the president’s re-election organization spokesperson Tim Murtaugh said the video “was not produced by the campaign, and we do not condone violence.”
White House says Trump has often first to condemn violence against media
The American Priority conference took to Twitter late Sunday to call the video “unauthorized,” saying it was shown in a side room.
The statement said organizers were not aware of the video until seeing the Times’ report. It then criticized the newspaper for not reporting on the rest of the conference.
“We find it shocking that the New York Times would not report on any of the sanctioned events in the article,” the conference said. “Including our panel conversation LITERALLY condemning political violence while claiming to be upset over a meme that was not sanctioned, shown on stage or approved.”
Media organizations depicted in the video were quick to condemn the video’s contents.
“We at Global News denounce this violent and disturbing video that is a further attack on journalism,” said Ward Smith, Senior Vice-President of Global News. “We stand in solidarity with other news organizations demanding the White House and the Trump campaign condemn the video and any depictions of violence against journalists or political opponents.”
In a statement released Sunday night, White House Correspondents’ Association president Jonathan Karl said the group was “horrified” by the video and called on Americans to condemn its contents.
“We have previously told the President his rhetoric could incite violence,” Karl said. “Now we call on him and everybody associated with this conference to denounce this video and affirm that violence has no place in our society.”
CNN called the images depicted in the video “vile and horrific” in a statement.
“Sadly, 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,” the company said, while also calling on Trump and his campaign to condemn the video.
The video was reportedly similar to other clips and memes made by the president’s supporters, some of which have been shared by Trump himself on Twitter.
The most famous example was a 2017 video that doctored footage of Trump at a wrestling match bodyslamming a CNN logo and beating it up. The tweet went viral despite widespread condemnation from the news media and critics.
Trump has continued to blame the media and Democrats for the ongoing impeachment inquiry partially overseen by Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. Schiff was also portrayed as a victim in the video.
Trump has yet to comment on the video or the Times report himself.
—With files from the Associated Press
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