The first person a fake version of Donald Trump kills after entering the “Church of Fake News” is a fake version of Peter Fonda, who once tweeted something terrible about Barron Trump. Then he turns his attention to the media, blasting bullets through people with the logos of Vox, Bloomberg, and Politico superimposed over their faces. Then comes ABC, The New Yorker, Vice News, Slate, and more. If the message wasn’t clear enough, he also shoots several people labeled “Fake News.”
The ultraviolent video, adapted from the 2014 movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, was shown last week at a pro-Trump conference held at the president’s own Trump National Doral resort in Florida, according to the New York Times. The conference included appearances by Donald Trump Jr., former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, and Florida congressman Matt Gaetz, according to its website.
In addition to killing people representing different media organizations, the figure with Trump’s face superimposed on it takes out several of his political rivals. Adam Schiff, John McCain, Maxine Waters, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton are among his targets. So, too, is a person representing Black Lives Matter.
In a statement on its website, American Priority, the organization holding the conference where the video was played, says the “unauthorized video” was shown in a “side room” at the gathering. “The video was not approved, seen, or sanctioned” by festival organizers, the statement from organizer Alex Phillips said. He goes on to blame the Times for focusing on the unsanctioned video, rather than the conference’s panel “condemning political violence.”
The Trump campaign has also distanced itself from the video, saying in a statement that it “was not produced by the campaign, and we do not condone violence.” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a pre-condemnation on Trump’s behalf Monday, tweeting that he “has not yet seen the video,” but “based upon everything he has heard, he strongly condemns” it.
Trump’s critics are not letting him off the hook, though. After years of declaring the press the “enemy of the people,” a video celebrating the murder of journalists is drawing broad disapproval.
The White House Correspondents’ Association said in a statement Sunday that it’s “horrified.” The statement continued: “All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President’s political opponents. 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 said in a statement that 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.”
At least one of the people whose face appears on the body of a victim also responded.
“Im depicted as being murdered by The President of the United States in this video,” comedian Kathy Griffin tweeted. In 2017, Griffin was widely criticized for posting a photo showing her holding a fake decapitated Trump head. “The left, right & center left me hanging out to dry regarding the Trump mask photo. Please don’t let it happen again. No, this video isn’t a joke to his followers. And it will not be taken as such.”
Cindy McCain, whose late husband, Senator John McCain, is smashed in the back of the head with a pistol in the video, tweeted that it violates “every norm our society expects from its leaders& the institutions that bare their names.”
Trump has not tweeted about the video, but he did tweet this: