WASHINGTON — The White House says President Donald Trump has yet to watch a graphically violent parody video that depicts a likeness of him shooting and stabbing opponents and members of the news media, but based on what he’s heard, he “strongly condemns” it.
The video portrays Trump’s critics and media members as parishioners in a church fleeing his gruesome rampage. The fake Trump strikes the late Sen. John McCain in the neck, hits and stabs TV personality Rosie O’Donnell in the face, lights Sen. Bernie Sanders’ head on fire and shoots or otherwise assaults people whose faces are replaced with news organization logos.
Trump’s face is superimposed on a killer’s body. Among the targets: former President Barack Obama, Black Lives Matter, Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Rep. Adam Schiff, who as Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is leading the impeachment inquiry of Trump.
White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham says in a tweet that Trump will see the video shortly and that, “based upon everything he has heard, he strongly condemns this video.”
The video and its screening were first reported by The New York Times.
The “unauthorized video” was shown last week “in a side room” at an American Priority conference at Trump’s Doral Miami resort, the event’s organizer, Alex Phillips, said in a statement. Trump was not present for the event.
“This video was not approved, seen, or sanctioned” by the event’s organizers, Phillips said.
The Video Appears to Have First Been Posted to a YouTube Page in July 2018
The setting for the massacre depicted is the video is the “Church of Fake News,” echoing Trump’s familiar refrain about news stories and organizations that he deems unfair.
The video also includes the logo for Trump’s 2020 campaign, but spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the “video was not produced by the campaign, and we do not condone violence.”
The White House Correspondents Association, which represents journalists covering the president, had issued a statement late Sunday saying it was “horrified” by the content and calling on Trump to offer his condemnation.
“All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President’s political opponents,” said Jonathan Karl, WHCA president. “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.”
The video appears to have first been posted to a YouTube page in July 2018, where it has been viewed more than 100,000 times since. The YouTube video uses a violent clip from the 2014 spy thriller “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” In the original scene, actor Colin Firth is depicted shooting a crowd of churchgoers.
The channel frequently posts violent parody videos of Trump playing popular movie superheroes or assassins. An email account listed for the YouTube channel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Phillips told the Times the video was played as part of a “meme exhibit” and was not associated with or endorsed by the conference “in any official capacity.”
“American Priority rejects all political violence,” he told the paper.