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Meme of Trump killing foes and media shown at his Florida resort, NYT reports

Gov. Ron DeSantis, who was listed as a speaker Friday evening, appeared that night at the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County’s Lincoln Day Dinner, a well-attended gala also held at Trump National Doral. A spokeswoman said he did not see the video.
Trump National Doral resort in Doral.
Trump National Doral resort in Doral. [ EMILY MICHOT | TNS ]
Published Oct. 14, 2019
Updated Oct. 14, 2019

A crude video meme depicting President Donald Trump gunning down political foes and media organizations inside a church was shown this weekend during a far-right conference held at the president’s Doral resort, according to the New York Times.

The Times reported Sunday night that the video — a clip edited to insert Trump into a scene from the 2014 movie Kingsman: The Secret Service — ran at some point during the American Priority Festival held Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Trump National Doral. Listed speakers included Donald Trump Jr., former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

The video, which can be found on YouTube, depicts Trump inside the “Church of Fake News,” shooting, beating and stabbing congregants with the logos of Vox, Politico, CNN and other media outlets emblazoned over their faces. He also shoots MSNBC personality Rachel Maddow and U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.

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The Times reported that a person who attended the conference filmed the video on his phone and sent the clip to an intermediary, who then provided it to a reporter. The Miami Herald, which was denied credentials to cover the conference, could not immediately confirm the Times story.

“The press is not really invited,” a publicist promoting the event told the Miami Herald Friday.

Stephanie Grisham, the White House press secretary, said on Twitter Monday that Trump had not seen the video, though “based on everything he has heard, he strongly condemns” it.

Efforts to reach conference organizers and the Trump campaign were not immediately successful Sunday. According to the Times, American Priority founder Alex Phillips condemned “political violence” and said the airing of the video “is under review.”

“Content was submitted by third parties and was not associated with or endorsed by the conference in any official capacity,” Phillips told the Times. “American Priority rejects all political violence and aims to promote a healthy dialogue about the preservation of free speech.”

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Organizers declined to tell the Times when or where the video was shown.

The White House Correspondents’ Association issued this statement late Sunday:

“The WHCA is horrified by a video reportedly shown over the weekend at a political conference organized by the President’s supporters at the Trump National Doral in Miami. 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.”

The Trump Organization, which runs Trump National Doral, could not be reached Sunday night. The airing of the video is the latest example of how Trump’s fight with mainstream media outlets that have called him out on falsehoods has also become a focus of conservative political campaigns.

DeSantis, who was listed as a speaker Friday evening, appeared that night at the Republican Party of Miami-Dade County’s Lincoln Day Dinner, a well-attended gala also held at Trump National Doral. But he did not give a speech at the conference, according to spokeswoman Helen Ferré.

“Governor DeSantis has not seen the video and does not condone violence of any kind,” she said.

Trump Jr. did speak at the conference. The Times reported that a person close to Trump’s son said he was unaware that the video had been played. Sanders, the former Trump press secretary, said the same to the Times.

“I was there to speak at a prayer breakfast, where I spoke about unity and bringing the country together,” Sanders told the Times. “I wasn’t aware of any video, nor do I support violence of any kind against anyone.”