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Nation & World

Meme of Trump killing foes shown at conference at Doral

MIAMI – 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.

The video – a clip edited to insert Trump into a scene from the 2014 movie “Kingsman: The Secret Service” – ran 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.

The clip ran on a television in a relatively small space to the side of a ballroom, according to a Reason reporter who attended the event. The Miami Herald was denied credentials to cover the conference.

The airing of the video at the conference was first reported by the New York Times.

Attempts to reach conference organizers were unsuccessful late Sunday. But a statement attributed to conference founder Alex Phillips and posted to the American Priority 2019 website condemned political violence and expressed frustration with the amount of attention paid to the video.

“It has come to our attention that an unauthorized video was shown in a side room at #AMPfest19. This video was not approved, seen, or sanctioned by the #AMPfest19 organizers, the statement said. “The organizers of #AMPfest19 were not even aware of the video until they were contacted by the NYT.”

Still, the airing of the video – which drew swift condemnation from media organizations and Democratic lawmakers – 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 gatherings.

The White House Correspondents’ Association said in a statement that the organization was “horrified.”

“All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President’s political opponents,” the organization said.

“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. Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman, said in a statement that the video “was not produced by the campaign, and we do not condone violence.”

White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham wrote on Twitter Monday morning that Trump had not yet seen the video. But “based upon everything he has heard, he strongly condemns this video.”

The conference, a three-day event, featured multiple speakers and sessions on topics ranging from illegal immigration to “the myth in global warming.” The schedule includes book signings by Parkland parent Andrew Pollack and by former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who was convicted last year of lying to the FBI during the special counsel’s investigation into Russian elections interference.

The event included a panel on “political violence.”

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 Ferre.

“And he did not see any video,” 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.”

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(c)2019 Miami Herald

Visit Miami Herald at www.miamiherald.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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