President Donald Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019, before boarding Marine One for a short trip to Andrews Air Force Base, Md., and then on to Florida. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

White House press organization condemns pro-Trump video depicting violence against journalists

A controversial pro-Trump video depicts the president gunning down media outlets... and is being condemned


Matthew Rozsa
October 14, 2019 4:00PM (UTC)

On Sunday the White House Correspondents Association denounced a video shown at a political event for President Donald Trump at a Trump resort in Miami, one that reportedly depicted the president committing acts of violence against media outlets.

In a statement issued in the name of organization president Jonathan Karl, who is also the Chief White House Correspondent for ABC News, the WHCA said it was "horrified" by the video, according to Politico. The video reportedly edited a scene from the 2014 film "Kingsman: The Secret Service" to depict Trump shooting parishioners at the "Church of Fake News" that had the logos of media organizations superimposed on their bodies. The targets included CNN, NBC, NPR, Politico, PBS, Vice News and The Washington Post, as well as Black Lives Matter, according to the initial New York Times report on the video in question.

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The video also reportedly showed the president attacking prominent Democrats including Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton and Reps. Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters of California. Other targets included former Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney, disgraced movie producer and serial rapist Harvey Weinstein, MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski and television personality Rosie O'Donnell.

"All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President’s political opponents," the WHCA said in its statement. "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."

Alex Phillips, the organizer of the American Priority Festival, said in a statement that it was meant to be part of a "meme exhibit" and said he was looking into how it was shown at the Trump event. American Priority is a pro-Trump group and hosted their gathering at the Trump National Doral Miami.

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"Content was submitted by third parties and was not associated with or endorsed by the conference in any official capacity," Phillips said in a statement. "American Priority rejects all political violence and aims to promote a healthy dialogue about the preservation of free speech. This matter is under review."

Former White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was scheduled to speak at the conference, told The New York Times that "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."

Stephanie Grisham, the current White House press secretary, tweeted that "Re: the video played over the weekend: 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."

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This is not the first time that controversy has arisen over a Trump video which seemed to advocate violence against members of the press. In 2017 a viral video edited a 2007 clip of the future president punching WWE chairman Vince McMahon by superimposing CNN's logo over the wrestler's face. The president retweeted the video.


Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a breaking news writer for Salon. He holds an MA in History from Rutgers University-Newark and is ABD in his PhD program in History at Lehigh University. His work has appeared in Mic, Quartz and MSNBC.

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