Trump adds wrestling meme to 'fake news' war on media

U.S. President Donald Trump continued his attacks on the mainstream news media during an event Saturday night to honour veterans in Washington, D.C., and then again on Sunday, with a wrestling takedown of CNN.

Adviser says U.S. president, 'beaten up on cable platforms,' has the right to respond

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives at the Celebrate Freedom Rally in Washington, D.C., on Saturday. At the event to honour veterans, Trump won cheers with attacks on the mainstream news media. (Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

U.S. President Donald Trump levelled another attack on the mainstream news media on Sunday with a wrestling-themed video in a tweet that one of his advisers said should not be seen as threatening.

The president posted a video found on Reddit last week showing Trump pummelling WWE chairman Vince McMahon in 2007, with the meme altered so that a CNN logo appears superimposed on McMahon's head as the two men tussle outside the ring.

Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert was questioned about the tweet on Sunday by ABC News' This Week co-anchor Martha Raddatz, who said, "that seems like a threat."

"Certainly not, though I think that no one would perceive that as a threat," Bossert replied. "I hope they don't. I do think that [Trump is] beaten up in a way on cable platforms that he has a right to respond to."

CNN issued a statement Sunday saying it's a "sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters" and that Trump's involvement in "juvenile behavior" is "far below the dignity of his office."

Trump tweeted on Saturday that his use of social media is "not presidential, it's modern day presidential."

At an event Saturday night to honour veterans in Washington, D.C., Trump won cheers with attacks on the mainstream news media.

"The fake media tried to stop us from going to the White House, but I'm president and they're not," he said at the gathering of evangelical Christians.

Trump vowed to support and defend religious liberty and said the threat of terrorism is "one of the most grave and dire threats to religious freedom in the world today."

"We cannot allow this terrorism and extremism to spread in our country, or to find sanctuary on our shores or in our cities," Trump said at the "Celebrate Freedom" concert honouring veterans. "We want to make sure that anyone who seeks to join our country shares our values and has the capacity to love our people."

The megachurch First Baptist Dallas and Salem Media Group sponsored the event at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. First Baptist Pastor Robert Jeffress was a strong backer of Trump during the 2016 campaign.

Trump appeared on a stage decorated with a massive American flag. Choirs performed The Battle Hymn of the Republic and other hymns and debuted a song with the lyrics "make America great again" — Trump's campaign slogan.

Besides speaking to the event's religious theme, Trump renewed his campaign promise to always take care of America's veterans.

"Not only has God bestowed on us the gift of freedom, he's also given us the gift of heroes willing to give their lives to defend that freedom," he said.

Overwhelming support from evangelical voters helped propel Trump to victory in 2016. Since he took office, Christian conservatives have been overjoyed by Trump's appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court and his executive order ordering the IRS to ease up on a rarely enforced limit on partisan political activity by churches.

Trump was spending the pre-Independence Day weekend at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, but travelled back to Washington for the event. 

With files from The Associated Press