Donald Trump’s critics were quick to condemn the president on Sunday after he tweeted an edited video that shows him physically attacking a person with the CNN logo superimposed on his head at a WWE match.
Ari Fleischer, who served as White House press secretary during the first term of Republican George W. Bush, tweeted that he believes the president has gone too far in his ongoing rhetorical battle with the press.
"I never minded a good 'fight' w the press. It's part of our democracy to disagree. But this goes too far," Fleischer wrote in a four part comment on Twitter. "Some will think it's funny. I find it in poor taste."
Fleischer added that he wants to see Trump's contentious relationship with the press softened.
"The Press should be more fair to Trump. And the President should tone things down," he concluded.
1/ I never minded a good "fight" w the press. It's part of our democracy to disagree. But this goes too far. https://t.co/RRUiJW5sj0— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) July 2, 2017
Rep. Adam Schiff of California's 28th Congressional District, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, linked Trump's rhetoric to the real life violence inflicted in May on Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, who was body-slammed by Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate in Montana's special House contest, on the eve of an election that he eventually won. Gianforte pleaded guilty to a charge of misdemeanor assault.
"Where will [Trump's] downward spiral take us?" Schiff asked.
.@POTUS posts mock video of him attacking press, even after a GOP candidate did exactly that. Where will his downward spiral take us?— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) July 2, 2017
Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell of California's 15th Congressional District addressed his Republican colleagues on Twitter, saying, "You were elected to be a check on power. Check it, or you condone it."
John Podhoretz, the editor of Commentary magazine and a conservative-leaning critic of the president, compared the tweet to the 2006 Mike Judge–directed satire "Idiocracy," which explores the possibility of a future in which everyone in America has gotten palpably dumber in part because of the degeneration of our culture.
"We're finished," Podhoretz wrote, after referring to a plot point in the comedy in which it's discovered that people have been trying to water crops with an energy drink.
Welcome to IDIOCRACY everybody. Start pouring Gatorade onto your plants. We're finished. https://t.co/HZ5iqwIPpU— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) July 2, 2017
The origin of the clip
The video appears to have originated from a highly popular Reddit page dedicated to Trump called The_Donald, where many of the president’s online supporters converge.
The user posted an exuberant, if expletive-laden response to the news that Trump used his video in a tweet.
"I wake up and have my morning coffee and who retweets my [post] but the MAGA EMPORER [sic] himself!!!" the user wrote.