Are We Really Surprised?

On Sunday, the President of the United States retweeted a doctored video in which he swings at and hits a golf ball that subsequently hits Hillary Clinton, causing her to trip and fall to the ground.

The video was initially posted by a Twitter user with the handle @fuctupmind—once identified with the username “Mike” but now simply “CNN SUCKS.” The account regularly posts white supremacist rhetoric. Last November, in a post that has since been deleted, the account tweeted “Please get rid of the Hasidic Jews. They are the worst people on the planet.”

The video was among one of many memes Donald Trump retweeted Sunday, and only one of his few recent tweets broaching the topic of Clinton in the wake of the release of What Happened, her reflection on the 2016 election. In another tweet he posted Sunday, Trump referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “Rocket Man.”

The now viral golf ball video, and Trump’s outlandish decision to retweet it, immediately sparked an outcry. In a statement calling the tweet “appalling and disgusting,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) scolded Trump for his decision to post it. “He continues to obsessively lash out at [Clinton]—at his rallies, with his words and now through social media—in a manner that is utterly unbecoming of the president of the United States,” she wrote. “Every one of us should be offended by the vindictive and candidly dangerous messages the president sends that demean not only Secretary Clinton, but all women.” Former Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub remarked on Twitter: “The President of the United States just retweeted a video vignette that imagines him assaulting his political rival. The man is unfit.”

Users began to report the content to Twitter, but the video remains—as does Trump’s own retweet of the content. Of course, this is not an isolated incident. Trump has made it clear that Twitter is his preferred platform with which to disseminate supremacist ideologies and attempt to assert dominance over those toward which he feels animosity.

Three days after white nationalists and white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, killing one and injuring dozens other in the following unrest, Trump retweeted and then quickly deleted a cartoon of a train running over a person whose face was replaced by a CNN logo. Earlier in July, he shared a doctored clip of him body-slamming and then punching a figure whose face was covered with a CNN logo. He has retweeted a man known for attempting to sabotage anti-Trump rallies using tactics such as infiltrating marches with “Rape Melania” signs. He uses Twitter to condemn activists for taking down racist monuments, but neglects to type out any authentic admonishment of his white supremacist peers.

There is nothing surprising about the president’s most recent internet activity. It is disturbing that Trump finds enjoyment in a false reality where he assaults a woman and his own political rival. It is dangerous that a world leader promotes violence against women on the global and digital stage. But this tweet is merely the most recent clickbait to emerge from a president who uses sexism and white supremacist ideology to rally his base.



Taliah Mancini is an editorial intern at Ms. Magazine.