Trump crit­i­cized by me­dia over tweeted video

Pres­i­dent’s ‘pum­melling’ of CNN re­porter de­scribed as ‘be­low the dig­nity of his of­fice’

The Hamilton Spectator - - CANADA & WORLD - CATHER­INE LUCEY

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.”

AL DRAGO, NEW YORK TIMES

Don­ald Trump at the Cel­e­brate Free­dom Rally in Wash­ing­ton on Satur­day.

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