Me­dia crit­i­cize Trump about video

Tweeted clip shows pres­i­dent punch­ing man in busi­ness suit with CNN logo over face

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Cather­ine Lucey

BRIDGEWATER, N.J.» In his lat­est jab at the me­dia, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Sun­day tweeted a mock video that shows him pum­mel­ing 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. The 28-sec­ond clip was posted on Trump’s of­fi­cial Twit­ter ac­count, with the mes­sage: “#FraudNewsCNN #FNN.”

The pres­i­dent in the past has branded the me­dia as “the op­po­si­tion party” and “the en­emy of the Amer­i­can peo­ple.” He has taken par­tic­u­lar aim at CNN, call­ing the net­work “fake news.”

Trump stayed on the at­tack later in the day, stat­ing on Twit­ter that “the dis­hon­est me­dia will NEVER keep us from ac­com­plish­ing our ob­jec­tives on be­half of our GREAT AMER­I­CAN PEO­PLE!”

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 the 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 be­hav­ior far be­low the dig­nity of his of­fice.”

White House of­fi­cials trav­el­ing with Trump dur­ing his week­end stay at his New Jersey golf club did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to ques­tions about who made the video or about any mes­sage the pres­i­dent might have in­tended to send.

Trump made an ap­pear­ance on a WWE show called “Bat­tle of the Bil­lion­aires” in 2007, in which he ap­peared to at­tack WWE CEO Vince McMa­hon.

McMa­hon’s wife, Linda, who founded and built the com­pany with her hus­band, now heads the Small Busi­ness Ad­min­is­tra­tion for Trump and was a gen­er­ous bene­fac­tor to his cam­paign.

The video was posted sev­eral 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 “hon­ored” 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 Satur­day in Wash­ing­ton.

A White House spokes­woman, Sarah Huck­abee Sanders, told re­porters last week that Trump “in no way, form or fash­ion has ever pro­moted or en­cour­aged vi­o­lence.”

CNN, in its re­sponse to the video posted Sun­day, said it was “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.”

CNN’s state­ment noted the weighty list of is­sues be­fore Trump — an over­seas trip this week that in­cludes a meet­ing with Rus­sian leader Vladimir Putin, the stalled health care bill and the threat from North Korea. In­stead of fo­cus­ing on those mat­ters, CNN said, “he is in­volved in ju­ve­nile be­hav­ior far be­low the dig­nity of his of­fice. We will keep do­ing our jobs. He should start do­ing his.”

For days, Trump has fo­cused his ire on Brzezin­ski and Joe Scar­bor­ough, co­hosts of MSNBC’s “Morn­ing Joe.”

Trump took to Twit­ter on Thurs­day to call Brzezin­ski “crazy” and con­tend she was “bleed­ing badly from a face-lift” when he once saw them at his Florida es­tate. The com­ment was de­cried as sex­ist and vul­gar by many Democrats and Repub­li­cans.

The MSNBC per­son­al­i­ties said Fri­day that Trump was ly­ing about their De­cem­ber en­counter and they ques­tioned his “un­healthy ob­ses­sion” with their pro­gram.

The hosts, who are a cou­ple on screen and off, also said the White House told them a dam­ag­ing Na­tional En­quirer story about their re­la­tion­ship would “go away” if they called the pres­i­dent and apol­o­gized for harsh com­men­tary. Trump quickly dis­puted the claim on Twit­ter.

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