Inside a church, President Donald Trump launches himself off a pew before jumping on a parishioner whose head has been replaced with a VICE News logo. Trump wrestles the person to the floor, before shooting them in the head. In the foreground, former FBI director James Comey is seen trying to get out of the way.
This is just a tiny vignette from a video depicting a character with Trump’s face conducting a violent and bloody attack on people representing media outlets, journalists, former administration officials, and Democratic opponents.
Parts of the video were played to Trump supporters at a conference at Trump’s own Miami resort last week that was attended by Donald Trump Jr. and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, according to the organizers of the event.
On Thursday night, the same day the conference in Florida began, Trump spoke at a rally in Minnesota and decried an “unholy alliance of corrupt Democrat politicians, deep-state bureaucrats, and the fake news media.”
The video, which was originally posted on YouTube in September 2018 by an account called “Lici†us Veri†as Invic†us,” used footage from the 2014 film “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and crudely replaced the main character’s face with Trump’s.
The scene takes place in a church — dubbed the “Church of Fake News” in the edited version — and sees Trump walk up the aisle among a sea of people whose faces have been replaced with logos from media organizations, including CNN, the BBC, MSNBC, BuzzFeed, and many more.
Trump then stops in the middle of the church and pulls a gun out of his suit jacket pocket and begins a graphic rampage, shooting several people in the head at point-blank range. He hits the late Sen. John McCain in the back of the neck and sets Bernie Sanders’ face on fire.
The bloody scene ends with Trump driving a stake through the head of a character whose face has been replaced with a CNN logo.
Trump, who has ramped up his attacks on the media as calls for his impeachment have grown, has regularly referred to journalists as the “enemy of the people.” The president caused outrage in 2017 when he tweeted a wrestling video that showed him pummeling a man whose head had been replaced with the CNN logo.
The video was played at the Trump National Doral Miami resort last week at a conference organized by American Priority.
The White House Correspondents' Association called the video "vile and dangerous” adding in a statement that “all Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President's political opponents.”
Cindy McCain, John McCain's widow, said that the video "violate[s] every norm our society expects of its leaders."
The organizers of the event confirmed on Sunday the video had been played as part of a “meme exhibit” but that it was submitted by a third party. “American Priority rejects all political violence and aims to promote a healthy dialogue about the preservation of free speech. This matter is under review,” Alex Phillips, organizer of the event, told the Times.
Donald Trump Jr. and DeSantis have yet to comment on the video, but Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the New York Times that she did not see it.
On Monday morning the White House press secretary tweeted that Trump had not yet seen the video but would be seeing it soon, adding, "Based upon everything he has heard, he strongly condemns this video."
Others, however, were quick to point out that the video could lead to real-world violence against those portrayed on screen.
“This video isn’t funny. It will get people killed,” Beto O’Rourke, a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, tweeted.
“Every mother and father in America should watch [the] video,” Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) tweeted. “Play it all the way to end. Know that this is the re-election message of your President.”
Cover: The crowd applaud as President Donald Trump concludes his speech at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)