Politics

Trump tweets video of him body-slamming and punching CNN

Commentary: The president insists his tweeting is 'modern day presidential.' Is this a prime example? And some say the source of the featured video was a controversial subreddit.

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President Trump Participates In The Celebrate Freedom Rally At The Kennedy Center

The fist of fury?

Pool / Getty Images

We are witnesses to the rapture of presidential disruption.

Donald Trump has shown -- and continues to show -- that there's more than one way of acting presidential. At least, in his eyes.

On Saturday, he tweeted that any criticism of his aggressive Twittering is mistaken. His use of social media isn't presidential, he insisted. It's "MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL." 

On Sunday, he proved his point by tweeting video, from what some say is a highly questionable source, of him performing in a WWE contest. 

He body-slams and punches an opponent. In this case, however, the CNN logo was superimposed over the opponent's head. Added was the hashtag #FraudNewsCNN.

CNN was not impressed.

"It is a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters. Clearly, Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied when she said the president had never done so. 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 involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his," a CNN spokeswoman told me.

CNN tweeted the Sanders quote its spokeswoman was referring to: "The president in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary." 

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

The president's tweeting came under additional scrutiny last week when he insulted MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski, by calling her "Crazy" and accusing her of "bleeding badly from a facelift." Even some GOP senators pleaded with the president to stop the Twittering.

The president had other ideas. 

On Friday, he attacked Brzezinski again on Twitter, calling her "dumb as a rock." On her morning show on Friday, Brzezinski questioned Trump's mental health.

Trump has been keen to snipe at the non-right wing media for some time. He refers to it as "fake news." 

It's unclear what his specific beef against CNN actually is, other than that the network isn't an unwavering admirer. Last week, it was forced to retract an article that linked Trump officials with a Russian investment fund. Three journalists resigned as a result.

Is, though, posting a video of yourself enacting violence -- even if cartoonish violence -- on a news network something that even modern-day presidents should be doing? 

Some might mutter that presenting yourself in a "sport" that's renowned for its, well, fakeness, rather undermines the point you're making.

Moreover, as the tweet thumped its way around the web, web detectives began chasing its origin. 

Some pointed to the controversial subreddit r/The_Donald as home to the video's first airing. It was posted there five days ago by HanAssholeSolo, who has made comments about stabbing Muslims and putting cats in a blender. HanAssholeSolo posted to Reddit yesterday: "Wow!! I never expected my meme to be retweeted by the God Emporer [sic] himself!!!"

Some of Trump's staff reportedly believe that Twitter will be his undoing. There are those who think his tweets should be vetted by lawyers. And is this the sort of thing future generations will see in the National Archives? It may well be.

The president, however, seems to believe that his social media use is part of what makes him the president that he is. A winner, in his words. A modern-day winner.

First published July 2, 10:20 a.m. PT.
Updated 11:53 a.m. July 3
: Adds detail about the video's origins.

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