“The WHCA is horrified by a video reportedly shown over the weekend at a political conference organized by the President’s supporters at Trump National Doral in Miami,” said the statement from President Jonathan Karl.
The group called for Americans to condemn the depiction of violence against journalists and the president’s political opponents.
The New York Times first reported of the existence of the video, which it said was played at a three-day conference was held by the pro-Trump group American Priority.
Journalists reacted quickly. Karl, who is also ABC News’ Chief White House correspondent, called it “dangerous” on Twitter. Politico’s Andrew Desiderio wrote, “This is an incitement to violence that didn’t just come from the dark corners of the Internet — it was shown at a pro-Trump conference at one of his resorts. I’m speechless.”
CNN issued a statement calling on Trump to condemn it: “The president and his family, the White House and the Trump campaign need to denounce it immediately in the strongest possible terms,” the network said in a statement. “Anything less equates to a tacit endorsement of violence and should not be tolerated by anyone.”
A statement on the Twitter account for American Priority called the video “unauthorized” and said it was shown in a side room.
“The video was not approved, seen, or sanctioned by the #AMPFest19 organizers,” it says. It goes on to criticize the Times for not reporting on “any of the sanctioned events in the article.”
According to the Times, “The video depicts a scene inside the “Church of Fake News,” where parishioners rise as Mr. Trump — dressed in a black pinstripe suit and tie — walks down the aisle. Many parishioners’ faces have been replaced with the logos of news media organizations, including PBS, NPR, Politico, The Washington Post and NBC.
“Mr. Trump stops in the middle of the church, pulls a gun out of his suit jacket pocket and begins a graphic rampage. As the parishioners try to flee, the president fires at them. He shoots Black Lives Matter in the head, and also shoots Vice News.”
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.