U.S. President Donald Trump’s resort in Miami hosted a conservative political conference this past weekend that included some violent parody videos, according to the New York Times. One of the viral videos, edited from a clip of the 2014 action movie Kingsman: The Secret Service, shows Trump violently murdering political and media figures like Adam Schiff, Mitt Romney and Rachel Maddow.
But there’s more to the story that isn’t included in the New York Times article, including who created the videos and how those videos made their way to a pro-Trump conference filled with some of the president’s top allies, like former White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders, Congressman Matt Gaetz, and professional failson Donald Trump Jr.
What video is going viral right now?
The video getting everyone’s attention this weekend is called “The Trumpsman: The MAGA Service,” created by TheGeekzTeam, part of a loose collective of pro-Trump video creators known online as Meme World.
TheGeekzTeam digitally placed Trump’s head over the main character of The Kingsman as he shoots his way through a church. The fake Trump can be seen killing a number of politicians, including Adam Schiff, John McCain, Maxine Waters, Bernie Sanders, Mitt Romney, Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama. Wealthy liberal activist George Soros is also killed in the video and some of the people in the video received pipe bombs from the so-called MAGA Bomber, Cesar Sayoc, back in October of 2018.
The Trump character also shoots a number of people with American news outlets superimposed on their heads, including logos for CNN, Politico, the Washington Post, NPR and ABC News, among others. Trump can also be seen shooting news figures like Rachel Maddow and Mika Brzezinski.
It’s a tremendously bloody scene, to say the least.
How did this video get shown at Trump’s resort?
“The Trumpsman,” was shown along with other videos at the Trump National Doral Miami resort as part of the American Priority Conference, held from October 10-12. The organisers of the American Priority Conference told the New York Times that they were “looking into” how the video was shown at their event.
“Content was submitted by third parties and was not associated with or endorsed by the conference in any official capacity,” organiser Alex Phillips told the Times. “American Priority rejects all political violence and aims to promote a healthy dialogue about the preservation of free speech. This matter is under review.”
But that’s a curious thing to say, considering what we know about the other videos screened there over the weekend.
Videos at the event appear to have been part of an online contest hosted by Meme World, a collection of far right video and image creators that includes people like Ben Garrison, Carpe Donktum (real name Logan Cook), and Mad-Liberals, according to the group’s website. Some members of the group, including Carpe Donktum and Mad-Liberals, have even visited the White House to meet with President Trump in the Oval Office. Garrison was disinvited from Trump’s “Social Media Summit” over an anti-semitic cartoon he drew.
The top prize of the Meme World contest included airfare, hotel, and food at the American Priority Conference in Trump’s resort, as well as access to a “VIP yacht party,” and a $500 gift card to an unnamed establishment.
“You get to meet the AMP Team and Carpe Donktum. You will also be featured in the Hall of Memes at the venue,” the Meme World organisers explained on their website. Other prize levels included tickets to the Florida event, and also mentioned the chance to meet Carpe Donktum.
The Hall of Memes appears to be where the violent mass shooting video was screened, though it violates Meme World’s own contest rules. According to Meme World, “Submissions will be rejected if they contain RACISM, SEXISM, NUDITY, SEXUAL CONTENT, or EXPLICIT VIOLENCE AGAINST A SPECIFIC PERSON OR GROUP OF PERSONS.”
What other videos were there?
Other winners from the contest included a Napoleon Dynamite parody created by a user named Solmemes1 and a Six Flags commercial parody created by Mad Liberals. A parody of the 2018 movie The Greatest Showman was also a winner.
CJ Ciaramella, a journalist for Reason magazine, took video at the Florida event showing a room where the far right videos were being screened. That footage shows screens playing videos like “The Trumpsman” as well as a Carpe Donktum video of President Trump giving a State of the Union speech.
There’s a big empty room here with TVs and projectors playing videos by that “carpe donktum” guy pic.twitter.com/O87stQDfrc
— CJ Ciaramella (@cjciaramella) October 11, 2019
The Carpe Donktum SOTU video was cut with the R.E.M. song “Everybody Hurts,” showing Democrats in the audience giving their visual disapproval of Trump’s policies. The R.E.M. video was retweeted by President Trump himself back in February but was removed after a copyright complaint was filed over the song.
Who made the videos?
Most of the meme creators at Meme World only go by pseudonyms online, but one of the most high-profile figures from the group is Kansas-based video creator Logan Cook, known as Carpe Donktum to his followers. Meeting Cook was one of the “prizes” people could win.
Cook spoke with a local Kansas City TV news station in July and proudly discussed various videos and GIFs he created that the president has tweeted out to his millions of followers.
It’s not clear what TheGeekzTeam’s real name is, but Logan Cook refers to the video creator as a “he” and says that he’s Cook’s friend. Cook did not answer Gizmodo’s questions sent via Twitter and email on Monday.
Who else was at the conference?
Speakers at the conference included Donald Trump Jr., former White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, former Congressman Jason Chaffetz, former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, professional shit-stirrer Roger Stone, disgraced plagiarist Benny Johnson, and NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch.
Filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza, who was pardoned by President Trump after being imprisoned for felony campaign finance violations, was also at the event. And other far right trolls like Andy Ngo, Laura Loomer, Mike Cernovich, and Jack Posobiec were also reportedly in attendance.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is listed as a speaker at the conference, but it’s not clear if he actually showed up to the event.
What happens now?
Various groups, including CNN, have already denounced the Kingsman video in no uncertain terms.
“The president and his family, the White House, and the Trump campaign need to denounce it immediately in the strongest possible terms,” CNN said in a statement. “Anything less equates to a tacit endorsement of violence and should not be tolerated by anyone.”
The White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) also released a statement calling out the hate-filled video.
“The WHCA is horrified by a video reportedly shown over the weekend at a political conference organised by the President’s supporters at the Trump National Doral in Miami,” ABC’s Jonathan Karl, the president of the WHCA, said in a tweet.
“All Americans should condemn this depiction of violence directed toward journalists and the President’s political opponents. We have previously told the President his rhetoric could 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.”
But it’s a pretty safe bet that the current outrage over the mass shooting parody video will be forgotten by the end of the week. This isn’t the first time that Trump supporters have endorsed violence, after all. And it definitely won’t be the last.