For many Americans, Sunday morning is a time for prayer, reflection, and a way forward to make the world a better place. For many, the Fourth of July weekend represents a time to celebrate America’s freedoms. For the President of the United States, it’s a time to tweet out a violent 28-second video that shows him body-slamming the news media outlet CNN.
Following his vocal and longstanding disdain for the media, President Donald Trump tweeted an embedded video of himself viciously fake-punching an opponent at a World Wrestling Entertainment match on Sunday. In the video, the opponent — whose face has been superimposed with the CNN logo — falls to the ground and writhes as Trump beats him up.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 2, 2017
The video showed up on a pro-Trump Reddit thread four days before the president tweeted it.
The president’s tweet comes a day after he lashed out against the media at an early Independence Day celebration event honoring the military veterans.
“The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House but I’m president and they’re not,” Trump said at the Kennedy Center on Saturday night. “We won and they lost. The fact is the press has destroyed themselves because they went too far. Instead of being subtle and smart, they used a hatchet.”
“The dishonest media will never keep us from accomplishing our objectives on behalf of our great American people,” he added
In an interview with ABC News’ This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday, Trump’s Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert defended the president’s tweet, adding he didn’t think it was meant to be a threat against journalists.
“In fact, he is the most genuine president and the most nonpolitican president we’ve seen in my lifetime, Bossert said. “Whatever the content of that tweet or any tweet, he’s demonstrated a genuine ability to communicate with the people.”
CNN reporter Brian Stelter responded with a company statement in a tweet, pointing out other concerns that the president should focus on instead of encouraging “violence against reporters.”
CNN statement responding to the president: "We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his." pic.twitter.com/Gn1YRA2DRG
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) July 2, 2017
On CNN’s State of the Union, Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) defended the First Amendment against Trump’s attacks and affirmed that freedom of press is just as important as any of the other liberties given to Americans.
“There’s an important distinction to draw between bad stories or crappy coverage and the right for citizens to argue about that and complain about that and trying to weaponize distrust,” Sasse said.
“The First Amendment is the beating heart of the American experiment, and you don’t get to separate the freedoms that are in there. There are five freedoms in the First Amendment: religion, speech, press, assembly, and protest. You don’t have religion without protest. You don’t have speech without press.”
Throughout his campaign and into his presidency, the president has painted a picture of a liberal media conspiring to be an enemy to the American people. But his words and actions have had consequences. This latest tweet comes days after he insulted the physical attributes of MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski amid a long history of spewing insults against the media. In particular during the campaign trail, Trump personally insulted NBC reporter Katy Tur, who required a US Secret Service security escort to leave a venue to her car. And one now-Republican Congressman was even charged with assaulting a reporter during a May campaign event.
While the president has been bashing the “fake news media,” there are plenty of other issues that are affecting Americans, including the alleged role the Kremlin played in the 2016 election and a Republican-led health care bill that could leave 22 million people without insurance.
A CNN analysis this week found that of Trump’s first 770 tweets since his presidency began, 85 had attacked the press, while just 67 mentioned jobs and 27 mentioned troops and the military.