Trump criticized by media over tweeted video
President’s ‘pummelling’ of CNN reporter described as ‘below the dignity of his office’
BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — In his latest jab at the media, U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday tweeted a mock video that shows him pummelling a man in a business suit — his face obscured by the CNN logo — outside a wrestling ring.
It was not immediately clear who produced the brief video, which appears to be a doctored version of Trump’s 2007 appearance on World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. The 28-second clip was posted on Trump’s official Twitter account, with the message: “#FraudNewsCNN #FNN.”
Bruce Brown, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, condemned the video as a “threat of physical violence against journalists.” He said Trump’s tweet was “beneath the office of presidency.”
A White House aide insisted the tweet should not send a chill across the media landscape.
“I think that no one would perceive that as a threat,” Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert said. “I hope they don’t. But I do think that he’s beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to.”
CNN accused Trump of engaging in “juvenile behaviour far below the dignity of his office.”
The video appeared to be a doctored version of an appearance Trump made on a World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. show called “Battle of the Billionaires” in 2007, in which Trump appears to attack WWE CEO Vince McMahon. His wife, Linda, who founded and built the company with her husband, now heads the Small Business Administration for Trump and was a generous campaign benefactor.
The video was posted days ago by a Reddit user with the title “Trump takes down fake news.” It was not clear whether that was where it originated or where Trump found it. Still, the user wrote Sunday about being “honoured” Trump had tweeted the video. The user who posted the video has a history of posts using anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant language.
The president’s verbal shots against news outlets and individual members of the media have grown increasingly personal in recent days even as lawmakers in both parties say the insults only threaten to undermine his political agenda.
Trump has singled out MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski and CNN for some of his most biting criticism, and hardly is backing down in the face of widespread condemnation from the political class.
“The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I’m president and they’re not,” Trump told a supportive crowd on Saturday in Washington.
A White House spokesperson, Sarah Sanders, told reporters last week that Trump “in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence.”
CNN called it “a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters. Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the president had never done so.”
Donald Trump at the Celebrate Freedom Rally in Washington on Saturday.