White House reporters slam mock video of Trump killing journalists and critics

(Reuters) - The White House Correspondents’ Association has condemned a mock video, shown at a gathering of U.S. President Donald’s Trump’s supporters at one of his Florida resorts, that depicts him slaughtering members of the news media and political adversaries.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump departs for campaign travel to Minnesota from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., October 10, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

News of the video was first reported by the New York Times, which said it obtained it from someone who attended the three-day gathering last week at Trump National Doral Miami and took a cellphone video of it. Parts of the video were posted on YouTube in 2018, the Times said.

It shows Trump’s head superimposed on the body of a man wearing a pinstriped suit and opening fire with a handgun inside the “Church of Fake News.” The parishioners’ are identified by the logos of news organizations or the faces of political opponents and critics of the president.

“We have previously told the president his rhetoric could incite violence,” Jonathan Karl, president of the association, said in a statement.

“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,” Karl added.

The video has been shared on social media. Reuters has not obtained a copy.

The political action group hosting the event, American Priority, denounced the violence in the video and are investigating as to how it was shown. It said in a statement on Twitter that it had not been aware of the video and did not approve it.

“This video was not approved, seen or sanctioned by the ... organizers,” the group said, adding that the video had been shown in a “side room.”

White House spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham wrote in a post on Twitter that Trump had not yet seen the video, but condemned it “based upon everything he has heard.”

The Times reported that the video appeared to include edited scenes from the 2014 dark comedy “Kingsman: The Secret Service.”

The Lynyrd Skynyrd song “Free Bird,” which had been properly licensed by the movie, can be heard on the video but was used without the knowledge of the band or its management, spokesman Ross Schilling said.

“We are certain that no one condones the violence and parody that video represents,” Schilling said in an email.

Trump has repeatedly called the media “the enemy of the people” in comments that critics have said could incite violence against journalists.

In 2018, a gunman killed five people in a Maryland newspaper office in one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history.

Reporting by Rich McKay and Steve Holland; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by Robert Birsel, Chizu Nomiyama and Tom Brown