CNN has called on President Trump to denounce a video that was shown at a pro-Trump conference last week, in which the president is depicted slaughtering figures representing media outlets.
The New York Times reported that the video was shown at a conference for Trump supporters held at Trump’s golf resort in Doral, Fla. According to the Times, the video shows a church massacre taken from the 2014 film “Kingsman: The Secret Service.” Trump’s face is superimposed on the shooter, while the victims’ faces are replaced by media logos — including CNN, Politico, NPR, and PBS — as well as images of Trump’s political opponents.
Trump’s son, Donald Trump, Jr., and his former spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, were both scheduled to speak at the conference, which was put on by a group called American Prosperity. Representatives for each told the Times that they had not seen the video at the conference.
CNN issued a statement Sunday night calling on Trump and his family to denounce the video, saying that failure to do so would amount to a “tacit endorsement of violence.”
“Sadly, this is not the first time that supporters of the President have promoted violence against the media in a video they apparently find entertaining — but it is by far and away the worst,” the network said. “The images depicted are vile and horrific. The President and his family, the White House, and the Trump campaign need to denounce it immediately in the strongest possible terms.”
The White House Correspondents’ Association said it was horrified, and also called on Trump to denounce the video.
“All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President’s political opponents,” said WHCA president Jonathan Karl. “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 organizer of the event, Alex Phillips, denounced the video in a statement to the Times on Sunday, and Trump’s spokesperson told the paper he knew nothing about it.
According to the Times, the video includes images of prominent Democrats including Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, President Obama, and Maxine Waters; entertainment figures such as a Harvey Weinstein and Rosie O’Donnell; and Republican critics of the president, including Mitt Romney and John McCain. The sanctuary is depicted as the “Church of Fake News.”
Last year, a Trump supporter mailed 16 explosive devices to Trump critics, two of which were sent in care of CNN. No one was injured.
Update, 6:15 a.m. Monday: Trump’s spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, tweeted that the president “strongly condemns” the video.
“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,” she wrote.