On Sunday morning, President Trump retweeted a GIF featuring a doctored video of him striking Hillary Clinton with a golf ball that was originally posted by a user named “Fuctupmind.” That user has posted many racist tweets about the Obama family, along with Islamophobic and anti-Semitic memes.
In recent weeks, Trump has repeatedly retweeted bigots, accounts that traffic in wild conspiracy theories, and memes depicting violence against his perceived enemies.
Trump retweeted “Fuctupmind” shortly after he posted a tweet derisively calling North Korean leader Kim Jong-un “Rocket Man.” Trump is antagonizing Kim Jong-un as the U.S. and North Korea exchange threats over North Korea’s nuclear program.
I spoke with President Moon of South Korea last night. Asked him how Rocket Man is doing. Long gas lines forming in North Korea. Too bad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 17, 2017
During an interview on CNN on Monday morning, staunch Trump supporter Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) was asked for his thoughts about the president’s Twitter behavior. With a smirk on his face, Collins dismissed Trump’s tweets as entertainment.
“The president does have a sense of humor,” he said. “‘Rocket man’ I thought was poking at Kim Jong-un frankly in a pretty funny way, to get under his skin. And let’s face it, whenever he’s tweeting he’s talking straight to his base, they enjoy it, and he’s delivering a message.”
Asked whether Trump’s tweets set an appropriate tone for the week of the United Nations General Assembly, Collins framed them as a refreshing change of pace.
“One thing about President Trump, he doesn’t stand on protocol at all,” Collins said. “He’s just a fun guy, he really is if anyone would get to know him. So I think, you know, the stuffy diplomats at the UN are going to be taken aback a bit, and that goes for the way he handles his Twitter account, which is him speaking directly like people do as they’re having a cup of coffee at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts.”
Collins was then asked specifically about Trump’s retweet of the violent anti-Clinton meme originally posted by “Fuctupmind.”
“Is that funny?” host Alisyn Camerota asked him.
But Collins played dumb, saying he “did not see that retweet, if that’s what you’re saying it was.” Camerota pointed out that “it’s on your screen right now…. it’s a retweet from kind of a gross account of a guy with a vulgar name, and it shows what some are calling violence against Hillary Clinton. What do you think of that?”
Collins replied by saying he doesn’t believe the GIF actually alludes to violence against Hillary Clinton.
“Well, we know it would not be that,” he said, before pivoting to talking about his own Twitter behavior. “I don’t retweet or forward anything from my account… because anything and everything can be taken out of context.”
Collins has been one of Trump’s most steadfast supporters in Congress. During an interview with Camerota in July, Collins attacked special counselor Robert Mueller, warned him not to look into the Trump family’s personal finances as part of his investigation into the Trump’s campaign for possible collusion with Russia, and suggested that the president is above the law.
“And [Mueller] should let go of some of the business things,” Collins said. “Let’s face it — the president is not subject to the normal ethics issues when it comes to business… It’s just that this president has a very complex business relationship around the world but he’s been clear, the president has been clear that he doesn’t have those relationships with Russia.”
During a CNN interview conducted shortly after Michael Flynn was ousted as Trump’s national security adviser after it became known that he had made misleading statements about his contacts with Russia, Collins dismissed the scandal.
“Well, it’s Valentine’s Day and I guess they’re having breakfast with their wives,” Collins said, in an effort to explain why Republican leadership had been mostly silent about Flynn’s departure. “Really, all I can say is I’m sorry to see Gen. Flynn go. I don’t know the details of what transpired. I do know Gen. Flynn, I know that he’s very loyal to President Trump, I know he’s a great American.”