The White House says President Donald Trump hasn't seen the violent video edited to depict him carrying out a massacre of news organizations and political opponents, but he does condemn the contents being reported.
The statement comes as questions about the video and its use continue to swirl and as the people "killed" in the video continue to react.
The fake video was played at a conference hosted by a pro-Trump group at his Miami resort last week, according to a report in The New York Times. It includes the logo for Trump's 2020 reelection campaign.
In the edited scene from the film "Kingsman: The Secret Service," Trump as the face of Colin Firth's character enters a "Church of Fake News" and opens fire on members of the congregation.
The churchgoers have various news organizations' logos or the faces of Democratic lawmakers and other critics superimposed onto their bodies.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said Monday morning that the president has not yet viewed the video, but condemns its contents based on reports. She said he will see it shortly. Trump has not directly responded.
Trump's character shoots, stabs and sets fire to the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.; 2020 presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.; Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.; and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, among others.
Reports describing a violent video played at a Trump Campaign event in which images of reporters & @JohnMcCain are being slain by Pres Trump violate every norm our society expects from its leaders& the institutions that bare their names. I stand w/ @whca in registering my outrage
— Cindy McCain (@cindymccain) October 14, 2019
Several news outlets are depicted being killed in the rampage, including Politico, NPR, HuffPost, The Washington Post, Slate and CNN.
The White House Correspondents' Association and CNN called on Trump to denounce the video.
"We have previously told the President his rhetoric would 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," Jonathan Karl, the president of WHCA, said in a statement.
"The President and his family, the White House, and the Trump campaign need to denounce it immediately in the strongest possible terms. Anything less equates to a tacit endorsement of violence and should not be tolerated by anyone," a CNN statement reads.
Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said Sunday evening, "Last year, a Trump supporter sent bombs to CNN – and a shooter entered a church yesterday. This video isn’t funny. It will get people killed.
I cannot repost the "Trump as mass murderer" video. How low are we going to go? How much lower can we bear?
— Carol Leonnig (@CarolLeonnig) October 14, 2019
The video reportedly played this weekend at a conference organized by the President’s supporters at Trump National Doral is vile and dangerous. Here is my statement on behalf of @whca pic.twitter.com/fOZLMhsi7P
— Jonathan Karl (@jonkarl) October 14, 2019
This is about so much more than a single video. It's about what happens when you plant seeds of hatred and division. It's about what happens when you give your supporters permission to hate and dehumanize critics. https://t.co/X77yPhn8JG
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) October 14, 2019
An organizer for the conference confirmed that the video was shown but denounced its showing as part of a "meme exhibit" with content submitted by third parties, according to The New York Times. "This matter is under review," said the organizer Alex Phillips.
Phillips also said on the conference's website it was "shocking" that the Times did not report on other portions of the conference, "Including our panel conversation LITERALLY condemning political violence while claiming to be upset over a meme that was not sanctioned, shown on stage, or approved."
The video appears to have been created by an organization called TheGeekzTeam, which tweeted it out and uploaded it to YouTube on July 3, 2018. The group has posted many videos of Trump inflicting violence on his perceived enemies, particularly members of the media. This particular video was entitled "The Trumpsman (The Kingsman Parody)."
In posting the video, the group said: "Fake News is very real and very present. Even through all the hate thats thrown at Trump daily, he still wants to help this nation back on it's feet and make it great again!"
Former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders and Donald Trump Jr. were reportedly scheduled to speak at the same three-day conference where the video was played. According to the Times, representatives for the two said they did not see the video.
A spokesperson for the Trump campaign told The New York Times that the campaign was not involved in the creation of the video, and "we do not condone violence."
Trump has repeatedly referred to members of the American news media as the "enemy of the people," and attacked members of the news media at his campaign rallies.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Violent video of Trump 'shooting' media, critics shown at a conference