Adolf Hitler and his Nazi henchmen used a trick in 1930s Germany that is an old and time-tested behavior and quite effective. His Brown Shirts would carry out a horrific and violent act and Hitler would then disclaim that act. There were two “advantages” of that violent behavior and propaganda. First, the violent act would have its intended effect of terrorizing people and send the message that they’d better go along and it distanced Hitler from the actual act through his disclaiming of the violence and the group that carried out the act.
And so it was with Trump surrogates in their disclaiming of a video shown at a campaign function in Miami that featured such grotesque violence against cartoon characters that depicted real-life politicians and representatives from the news media that readers can imagine the pleasure Trump must have felt as it harkened back to his wrestling video (July 2017) that depicted him “taking down” a major media cartoon character.
The New York Times and a host of other media outlets, including the Huffington Post, reported on the video, but only showed still images from it in their articles:
A video depicting a macabre scene of a fake President Trump shooting, stabbing and brutally assaulting members of the news media and his political opponents was shown at a conference for his supporters at his Miami resort last week, according to footage obtained by The New York Times (“Macabre Video of Fake Trump shooting Media and Critics Is shown at His Resort,” October 13, 2019).
The three-day conference was sponsored by the pro-Trump group American Priority and featured several “top (Trump) surrogates.” Those surrogates, including former administration spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Donald Trump, Jr., said that they did not view the video.
The video takes place in the “Church of Fake News” where the Trump character attacks cartoon churchgoers such as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Mitt Romney, and Bernie Sanders, along with other characters, reminiscent of Trump’s earlier wrestling video, with the logos of multiple news media outlets superimposed over their heads. The video is grotesquely violent with the cartoon figure of Trump shooting opponents with a semi-automatic handgun and stabbing many others in the neck. Blood flies everywhere! Bernie Sanders is attacked with a blowtorch and his figure’s head is set afire.
As impeachment looms for Trump, he has ramped-up his attacks against media outlets calling the media the “enemy of the people.”
Here is the disclaimer by the organizer of the Miami event:
The organizer of the event said in a statement on Sunday that the clip had been played at the conference, saying it was part of a “meme exhibit.” He denounced the video and said his organization was looking into how it was shown at the event.
“Content was submitted by third parties and was not associated with or endorsed by the conference in any official capacity,” said the organizer, Alex Phillips. “American Priority rejects all political violence and aims to promote a healthy dialogue about the preservation of free speech. This matter is under review.”
We are over one year away from the 2020 presidential election. The violence that began at 2016 Trump campaign rallies is once again a fellow traveler to Trump and his campaign. Hate speech is permitted by the First Amendment, but speech that incites violence is not.