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Trump tweets fake video of him attacking CNN

Throughout his campaign and into his presidency, Trump has disparaged news outlets, such as The New York Times and CNN. | Getty

The wrestling video seems to turn the mainstream press into cartoonish villains.

Updated

President Donald Trump on Sunday tweeted an edited professional-wrestling video of him tackling a man with the CNN logo superimposed on his head, giving the impression that he was advocating for violence against the network.

The video, which was edited from a time that Trump appeared on WWE several years ago, was first posted on Reddit.

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A CNN spokeswoman said in a statement Sunday: “It is a sad day when the President of the United States encourages violence against reporters.”

“Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is instead involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. WE will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his,” the statement continued.

Based on a viewing of what appears to be the original video, the person whose face is covered by the logo would seem to be wrestling mogul Vince McMahon. His wife, Linda, is now Trump’s head of the Small Business Administration. The footage is from a WrestleMania event on April, 1, 2007, in Detroit, one of a number of such events Trump took part in.

Throughout his campaign and into his presidency, Trump has disparaged news outlets, such as The New York Times and CNN.

Speaking on Brian Stelter’s media show on CNN, Carl Bernstein called the wrestling tweet “an index of his state of mind.”

“It’s not just anti-CNN, it’s anti-freedom of the press,” said the legendary Washington Post figure.

Stelter raised the question of whether the video, as a possible incitement to violence, might violate Twitter’s terms of service.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi on Sunday tweeted that “violent imagery” bullying the press “must be rejected.”

“Violence & violent imagery to bully the press must be rejected. This #July4th, celebrate freedom of the press, guardians to our democracy,” the House minority leader wrote on Twitter follwing Trump’s tweet.

But White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser Thomas Bossert, shown the video during an interview, said Trump’s tweet was just the president defending himself against cable news networks”beating up on him unfairly.”

“I think that no one would perceive that as a threat. I hope they don’t,” Bossert said an interview on ABC’s “This Week.” “But I do think that he’s beating up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to.”

Trump’s feud with CNN escalated this past week after the network retracted a story in late June that cited an anonymous source saying the Senate Intelligence Committee was looking into the chief executive of a $ 10 billion Russian investment fund who met with financier Anthony Scaramucci, a member of Trump’s transition team, before the inauguration.

The White House has since cited the incident as evidence of media bias.

On Saturday, the president tweeted: “I am thinking about changing the name #FakeNews CNN to #FraudNewsCNN”

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On Sunday, CNN’s statement also accused deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders of lying when she said the president has not encouraged violence against reporters.

On Thursday, Sanders said: “The President in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.”

The video also comes weeks after Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs was body-slammed by Greg Gianforte, who was then a congressional candidate in Montana. Gianforte went on to win in the special election.

Trump had a long association with the popular theatrics of the McMahons and the WWE. He even landed in the celebrity wing of the pro wrestling organization’s hall of fame in 2013, joining the likes of Pete Rose, Mike Tyson and William “The Refrigerator” Perry.

After Trump’s election in 2016, the organization paid tribute to his victory on its website: “In November 2016, Trump culminated his campaign against key contender Hillary Clinton and was elected into office as the 45th President of the United States — the first time in history a WWE Hall of Famer would ever hold the distinguishing title of U.S. Commander-in-Chief.”

David Cohen and Connor O’Brien contributed to this article.

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