Trump 'strongly condemns' doctored video showing him killing news media outlets and political foes, press secretary says
President Donald Trump “strongly condemns” a doctored video that was shown at a conference for his supporters which portrays him killing and otherwise brutally assaulting characters depicting news media outlets, President Barack Obama, the late Sen. John McCain, Black Lives Matter and other political opponents of Trump, his spokeswoman said.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a Twitter post that while Trump had not seen the video depicting the president going on a bloody rampage in a so-called “Church of Fake News” as of Monday morning, “he will see it shortly.”
“But based upon everything he has heard, he strongly condemns the video,” Grisham said.
As of three hours after Grisham’s tweet, Trump had not issued a statement himself condemning the video.
In fact, Trump, hours after Grisham’s statement, attacked “Fake News” in a tweet that noted former Vice President Joe Biden’s son had resigned from the board of directors of a Chinese company.
Trump’s presidential campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said, “That video was not produced by the campaign, and we do not condone violence.”
The video was first described by The New York Times in an article published online Sunday night.
The video was shown in a conference room during a three-day conference sponsored by the Trump-backing group American Priority at Trump National Doral Miami in Florida.
The president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and his former White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, both were scheduled to speak at the conference.
In the video, Trump’s face is superimposed on the body of actor Colin Firth in a scene from the film “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”
During the video, people are shown with various logos superimposed over their faces. The logos include that of news organizations CNBC, ABC, PBS, Huffington Post, Slate, The New Yorker, Politico, Vice News, The Hill, BBC News, The Washington Post, CBS, Vox, Buzzfeed, NPR and Bloomberg.
Other people in the video have the faces of Obama, Hillary Clinton, former President Bill Clinton, former FBI Director James Comey, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Rosie O’Donnell superimposed over them.
The video depicts the Trump character shooting various people and attacking them.
The rampage ends with the Trump character jamming a sharpened stake through the neck of a man with CNN’s logo superimposed over his face.
American Priority, in an emailed statement to NBC News, said, “It has come to our attention that an unauthorized video was shown in a side room at #AMPFest19.”
“This video was not approved, seen, or sanctioned by the #AMPFest19 organizers,” the statement said. “The organizers of #AMPFest19 were not even aware of the video until they were contacted by the New York Times.”
The group said it was “shocking” that the Times report didn’t mention any of the “sanctioned events,” including a panel conversation “literally condemning political violence while claiming to be upset over a meme that was not sanctioned, shown on stage, or approved.”
“#AMPFest19 always has and always will condemn political violence,” the statement said.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in a statement to the Times, said, “I was there to speak at a prayer breakfast, where I spoke about unity and bringing the country together.”
“I wasn’t aware of any video, nor do I support violence of any kind against anyone,” Sanders said.
A source close to Donald Trump Jr. told the Times that he was unaware the video was played at the conference.
The president has frequently lashed out at what he calls the “Fake News Media.”
In 2018, the news network CNN noted that Trump had retweeted a video depicting him tackling and punching a man with a CNN logo superimposed on his face, adding the comments “#FraudNewsCNN” and “#FNN.”
CNN blasted the video.
The White House Correspondents Association also denounced the video.
“The WHCA is horrified by a video reportedly shown over the weekend at a political conference organized by the President’s supporters at the Trump National Doral in Miami,” said WHCA President Jonathan Karl.
“All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President’s political opponents. We have previously told the President his rhetoric could incite violence. 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.”
On Monday, the website Meme World posted a statement criticizing the backlash to the video, saying that mainstream media outlets were manufacturing an “outrage campaign to discredit” the success of the conference.
Meme World is run by Carpe Donktum, which is a pseudonym for a man in Kansas who has created memes in support of Trump.
Carpe Donktum said in the statement that TheGeekzTeam, which created the video shown at the conference, would remain a contributor to Meme World.
“During the American Priority Conference, a meme by TheGeekzTeam was part of a loop of meme videos played as part of a meme exhibit,” Carpe Donktum said in a statement.
“The video, while graphic and violent, depicts enemies of President Trump threatening him and his family and his ‘over the top’ response. MemeWorld has not and does NOT condone ANY violence committed by ANYONE, for ANY REASON. The Kingsman video is CLEARLY satirical and the violence depicted is metaphoric. No reasonable person would believe that this video was a call to action, or an endorsement of violence towards the media. The only person that could potentially be “incited” by this video is Donald Trump himself, as the main character of the video is him. THERE IS NO CALL TO ACTION.”
“The Kingsman video was played on a small tv in an empty room for a few hours during a 3 day event that FEATURED AN ANTI POLITICAL VIOLENCE PANEL. The MSM could not find any controversy within the conference itself, so they have manufactured this outrage campaign to discredit its success,” the statement said.