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Trump Marks Independence Day With Fantasy About Beating Up Journalists

03/07/2017 12:16 AM AEST | Updated 03/07/2017 6:22 AM AEST

President Donald Trump renewed his attacks on the media Sunday, tweeting a video that seemed to endorse violence against journalists.

The video appears to be a repurposed clip of Trump, then a reality TV star, beating up WWE owner Vince McMahon in 2007 ― with the logo for CNN, which Trump has continually labeled a “fake news” media outlet, replacing McMahon’s head.

Trump’s official White House account subsequently retweeted the video, which appeared on a Reddit thread on Wednesday, entitled “Trump takes down fake news.”

During his raucous presidential campaign rallies, Trump often incited protests and violence against reporters.

On Thursday, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders falsely insisted that Trump “in no way, form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.”

In its official response to Trump’s Sunday tweet, CNN cited Sanders’ statement.

Trump on Saturday tweeted a tirade about the media, part of his continuing efforts to undermine the work of journalists. In one tweet, he suggested calling CNN “fraud news,” and subsequently pinned the tweet to feature it prominently on his account page.

The president even railed against the “fake media” during a July Fourth event honoring military veterans at the Kennedy Center in Washington on Saturday evening.

“The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House. But I’m president, and they’re not,” Trump said.

Later Sunday, Trump again targeted “the dishonest media,” tweeting a clip from Saturday’s Kennedy Center event.

Against the backdrop of Trump’s relentless attacks against the media and portraying reporters as “the enemy of the people,” journalists have been targeted in acts of violence this year. 

In May, then-GOP congressional candidate Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter. The next day, he won a special election to represent Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives. In June, Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.

Other reporters have been arrested or pinned against a wall by security guards for simply doing their jobs.

This article has been updated with additional context and CNN’s response to Trump’s tweet.

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