By: Agence France-Presse
US President Donald Trump launched a contemporary assault on the information media Sunday by tweeting a video — weird even by his requirements — exhibiting him knocking down and beating an expert wrestling “villain” whose face had been changed by a CNN brand.
The 10-year-old video, hailing again to Trump’s days as a visitor celeb at pro-wrestling occasions, got here after per week in which his unrestrained Twitter assaults on two MSNBC discuss present hosts drew widespread condemnation from members of each political events.
The newest tweet was instantly condemned by journalists, who mentioned Trump appeared to be selling bodily violence in opposition to the media, whereas a Republican lawmaker mentioned the president was attempting to “weaponize distrust” by way of his postings.
But administration officers insisted Trump has a proper to answer important protection.
In the 28-second video, Trump, in a go well with and tie, is seen knocking down one other man in a go well with who’s standing subsequent to a wrestling ring. Trump repeatedly pummels the fallen man, whose face is roofed by a superimposed CNN brand. A pretend CNN brand then seems on the display screen studying “FNN: Fraud News Network.”
An extended model of the video on-line exhibits that the person being crushed was World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) owner-promoter Vince McMahon, a good friend of Trump’s. In that model, Trump additionally will get in the ring to shave McMahon’s head as a part of the “The Battle of the Billionaires” on the WrestleMania 23 occasion.
McMahon was current on the White House in February to pose smilingly with the president when his spouse Linda McMahon — a former WWE government — was sworn in as Trump’s Small Business Administration chief.
– Encouraging violence? –
Trump has not too long ago stepped up his assaults on the information media. Besides the crude assault on MSNBC co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski — he referred to as her “low I.Q.” and mentioned he had seen her bleeding after a facelift — he has particularly bashed retailers together with CNN, NBC, The Washington Post and The New York Times.
Amid a torrent of criticism over his assault on Brzezinski, Trump doubled down Saturday, tweeting: “My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!”
With Trump’s tweets coming simply weeks after a mass taking pictures at a congressional baseball follow, reporters on Thursday requested White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders whether or not his rhetoric is perhaps selling violence.
She replied: “The president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.”
But the wrestling video prompted a wave of recriminations.
“It is a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters,” CNN mentioned in a press release. “Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the president had never done so.”
CNN advised that Trump ought to as an alternative be specializing in points like well being care, tensions with North Korea and his upcoming assembly with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Hamburg, Germany.
A journalists’ group, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, roundly denounced the video. “We condemn the president’s threat of physical violence against journalists,” mentioned a press release from the group’s government director, Bruce Brown. “This tweet is beneath the office of the presidency. Sadly, it is not beneath this president.”
-‘A right to respond’ –
A White House official, Homeland Security adviser Thomas Bossert, defended Trump’s video and mentioned it demonstrated the president’s “genuine ability to communicate to the people.”
“I think that no one would perceive that as a threat,” he mentioned on ABC. “I hope they don’t. I do think that he’s beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond.”
But Republican Senator Ben Sasse rejected that argument, saying on CNN that there’s a distinction between complaining about unhealthy protection and “trying to weaponize distrust.”
Meanwhile, a number of journalists mentioned they feared Trump was stirring up anti-media violence.
Dean Baquet, government editor of The New York Times, mentioned it was “unseemly” that Trump would “encourage such anger at the media.”
And Annie Lowrey, a journalist with The Atlantic journal, tweeted: “In seriousness, I am terrified that a journalist — perhaps one of the many political reporters I know and love — is going to end up dead.”
Trump may even see the information media as a simple goal, one deeply disliked by his political base. But public approval of newspapers, a minimum of, has considerably risen in the previous 12 months, a interval marked by intensive and sometimes important reporting on the unorthodox Trump presidency.
Only 20 % of Americans expressed confidence in newspapers in June 2016. But by final month the determine had risen to 27 %, the Gallup polling agency reported.(AFP)