President Trump on Sunday tweeted a video of him body-slamming World Wrestling Entertainment Chairman Vince McMahon whose face was replaced by the CNN logo.
The tweet, which said, “#FraudNewsCNN #FNN,” linked to a video of the president decking, pummeling and then shaving off McMahon’s hair during a “Battle of the Billionaires” stunt at WrestleMania XXIII in 2007.
McMahon is the husband of Linda McMahon, who heads Trump’s Small Business Administration.
In a statement on Twitter, CNN recalled comments from White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders last week that the president doesn’t condone violence against the media.
“‘The President in no way form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.’ – @SHSanders45 6/29/17,” the CNN tweet said.
She was responding to questions about Trump’s remarks on Twitter last Thursday when he said MSNBC co-host Mika Brzezinski had been “bleeding badly from a face-lift” during a visit to his exclusive Florida resort Mar-a-Lago in January.
Later, in a statement, CNN said “we will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.”
“Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is instead
involved in juvenile behavior blowing the dignity of his office,” the statement said.
Bipartisan condemnation against the take-down video continued to build Sunday morning.
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell urged all Republicans to rebuke the Tweet or be complicit in its message.
“I am calling on EVERY @HouseGOP Member of Congress to condemn this. You were elected to be a check on power. Check it, or you condone it,” the California representative tweeted on Sunday.
Minority House Leader Nancy Pelosi also blasted the tweet.
“Violence & violent imagery to bully the press must be rejected. This #July4th, celebrate freedom of the press, guardians to our democracy,” she wrote on Twitter.
A Trump administration official said he doesn’t view Trump’s tweet as inciting violence against the media.
“Certainly not, though I think that no one would perceive that as a threat. I hope they don’t. I do think that [Trump is] beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to,” Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert said on ABC’s “This Week.”
He said cable news shows are “not always very fair to the president,” who developed a social media platform to speak directly to the “American people.”
Trump is “the most genuine president and the most non-politician president we’ve seen in my lifetime,” he said.
The president was also the subject of bipartisan scorn last Thursday when he posted the “bleeding badly” tweet about Brzezinski, with many lawmakers saying it was beneath the dignity of the office.
Trump defended his use of social media in a tweet on Saturday.
“My use of social media is not Presidential – it’s MODERN DAY PRESIDENTIAL. Make America Great Again!,” he wrote.
The president has been in the ring with CNN and other news outlets since the cable news network retracted a story that linked an associate of his with a Russian bank.
Three CNN employees also resigned over the article.
”So they caught Fake News CNN cold, but what about NBC, CBS & ABC? What about the failing @nytimes & @washingtonpost? They are all Fake News!,” Trump wrote last
Tuesday, as he continued his feud with the country’s media outlets.