Backlash erupts at video depicting Trump killing media, critics

A video depicting President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE shooting and stabbing media organizations and some of his most prominent critics drew widespread backlash after The New York Times reported it was played at a conservative conference over the weekend at Trump's Doral resort.

Democrats and media organizations warned as the video circulated on YouTube and social media that it could incite further violence, with some calling on Trump to speak out and condemn the clip.

ADVERTISEMENT

"At a conference of Trump supporters, they played a video of our president murdering journalists in a church. Last year, a Trump supporter sent bombs to CNN—and a shooter entered a church yesterday. This video isn’t funny. It will get people killed," tweeted former Rep. Beto O'RourkeBeto O'RourkeButtigieg picks up third congressional endorsement from New York lawmaker Klobuchar hires staff in Nevada Deval Patrick enters 2020 race MORE (D-Texas), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

Cindy McCain, the widow of former Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainBudowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? Sharice Davids to vote for Trump impeachment articles: 'The facts are uncontested' Ex-Rep. Scott Taylor to seek old Virginia seat MORE (R-Ariz.), weighed in after it was reported that the late senator was among those depicted as Trump's victims in the video.

"Reports describing a violent video played at a Trump Campaign event in which images of reporters & @JohnMcCain are being slain by Pres Trump violate every norm our society expects from its leaders & the institutions that bare their names," she tweeted. "I stand w/@whca [White House Correspondents' Association] in registering my outrage."

The video, which has been uploaded to YouTube and Twitter since the Times first reported on it, is taken from a clip of the film "Kingsman: The Secret Service" and shows Trump's head superimposed on the body of a character going on a violent rampage inside the “Church of Fake News." 

He is depicted gunning down and stabbing people with the faces of his critics and media organizations' logos superimposed onto them. Among the outlets featured in the video are Politico, The Washington Post, NPR and The Hill.

Rep. Maxine WatersMaxine Moore WatersCalifornia GOP candidate arrested on stalking charges Maxine Waters earns viral praise for steadfast calls for impeachment as articles announced Democrats could introduce articles of impeachment next week MORE (D-Calif.), Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 The Memo: Pelosi-Trump trade deal provokes debate on left MORE (I-Vt.), John McCain and Rosie O'Donnell are also among his targets in the video.

Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpTrump Jr. blasts Time for choosing 'marketing gimmick' Greta Thunberg as Person of the Year White House calls Democratic witness's mentioning of president's youngest son 'classless' Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing MORE, former White House press secretary Sarah HuckabeeSarah Elizabeth SandersBill Press: Mulvaney proves need for daily briefings White House correspondent April Ryan to moderate fundraising event for Buttigieg White House press secretary defends lack of daily briefings: Trump 'is the most accessible president in history' MORE Sanders and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRonald Dion DeSantisSaudi officer ripped US support of Israel in tweet before naval base shooting: report The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - A crucial week on impeachment FBI identifies Pensacola shooter as Saudi Royal Saudi Air Force second lieutenant MORE (R) were among those scheduled to speak at the American Priority conference.

The event's organizer denounced the video and said his organization was looking into how it was shown at the event. 

Lawmakers whose home states and districts have been hit by gun violence were among the first to speak out against the video.

Sen. Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyDemocrats seek leverage for trial Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism NCAA president wants a federal athlete compensation bill MORE (D-Conn.), who has been one of the most prominent advocates for gun control since the Sandy Hook massacre in his home state, urged every parent in the country to watch the video.

"Play it all the way to end. Know that this is the re-election message of your President," he tweeted. "And then ask yourself — how you sit your kids down and tell them you want this person to lead us."

Rep. Ted DeutchTheodore (Ted) Eliot DeutchBipartisan lawmakers condemn Iran, dispute State Department on number of protesters killed Bipartisan lawmakers introduce amendment affirming US commitment to military aid to Israel Ethics sends memo to lawmakers on SCIF etiquette MORE (D-Fla.), who represents Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed at a high school in 2018, highlighted recent mass shootings in places of worship, at the Capital Gazette newspaper and at a GOP congressional baseball practice. 

"We must demand better than this," he tweeted.

Media organizations and journalists were also quick to condemn the video, with many worrying that it would inflame the president's already incendiary rhetoric toward the press, which he often derides as "fake news" and the "enemy of the people."

White House Correspondents' Association President Jon Karl said in a statement that the organization was "horrified" by the clip.

"All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President’s political opponents," he said. "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."

CNN, which has been among the most regular targets for criticism from Trump, blasted the video as "vile and horrific" and called on Trump to condemn it in the "strongest possible terms."

White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamWhite House vows to appeal ruling blocking use of military funds for border wall On The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday Trump, White House rip Democrats over impeachment articles MORE tweeted Monday morning that Trump had not yet seen the video, but would watch it shortly.

"But based upon everything he has heard he strongly condemns the video," Grisham tweeted.