(Reuters) – The White House Correspondents' Association (WHCA) condemned Sunday a video that featured a false image of US President Donald Trump slaughtering media members at a meeting of his supporters.
FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump travels to the Minnesota New York Times election campaign from the South Lawn White House in Washington, USA, after someone who attended the rally leaked a cell phone video to the newspaper.
"The WHCA is appalled by a video that was reportedly broadcast on a weekend weekend at a political conference organized by supporters of the President," said Jonathan Karl, president of the association, in a statement.
"All Americans should condemn this portrayal of violence against journalists and political opponents of the president," he said.
"We told the president earlier that his rhetoric could provoke violence. Now we urge him and everyone involved in this conference to denounce this video and reaffirm that violence has no place in our society.
The video shows Trump's head over the body of a man wearing a pinstripe suit and opening fire "Church of Fake News" with some parishioners carrying logos from various news organizations, the Times reported.
Reuters did not receive a copy of the video for review and could not contact the organizers of the event.
But the political action group that hosted the event, American Priority, said in a statement on Twitter that they did not know the video and did not approve it.
"We noticed that an unauthorized video was being shown," the group said, adding that the video was shown in a "side room".
"This video has not been approved, seen or approved by the … organizers. "
American Priority states on its website that it supports freedom of speech, which is protected by the first amendment to the US Constitution.
A spokesperson for Trump's campaign said he knew nothing about the video, the Times reported.
"This video was not produced by the campaign, and we do not tolerate violence," spokesman Tim Murtaugh said.
Trump's son Donald Trump Jr. and a former spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, were scheduled to speak at the three-day conference in Miami, but the Times reported that neither had seen the video.
"I did not know any video or support any violence against anyone," Sanders told The Times.
The Times reported that the video contained apparently edited scenes from the dark comedy "Kingsman: The Secret Service" from 2014.
Organizers condemned the violence in the video in conversation with the Times and examined how it was shown.
"American Priority rejects any political violence and aims to promote a healthy dialogue on the preservation of freedom of expression. This matter is under investigation, "said organizer Alex Phillips of The Times.
Trump repeatedly referred to the media as the "enemy of the people" during his election campaign for 2020.
A gunman killed five people in a newspaper office in Maryland in 2018 in one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in US history.
Reporting by Rich McKay; Editing by Robert Birsel