President Trump once again ran afoul of Twitter terms of service on Thursday when he took a swipe at the ‘fake news’ media by posting a doctored ‘CNN’ clip showing a black toddler run away in terror from a ‘racist baby’ who is ‘probably a Trump voter.’
The president shared a deceptively edited version of the adorable clip from last year which showed two little boys, Maxwell and his friend Finnegan, run toward one another as they giggle and laugh before giving each other a big hug.
In the original video, the two two-year-olds are seen racing towards one another for a ‘besties’ hug.
The heartwarming encounter between Maxwell, who is black, and Finnegan, who is white, was filmed by Maxwell’s father, Michael Cisneros.
President Trump on Thursday shared a doctored video with a CNN chyron that reads: ‘Terrified toddler runs from racist baby’
The clip is a selectively edited and spliced version of a viral video from last year showing two two-year-old boys – one black and one white – embracing
Trump tweeted the clip, which showed the actual footage of young Maxwell (above) running with open arms to embrace his friend Finnegan (below) in New York City last fall, as a way of criticizing media coverage of racial tensions in America
The two boys are seen embracing in the clip that the president shared on social media on Thursday
The two boys, who up until that point had been close friends for about a year, had not seen each other for two days when they embraced on a Manhattan sidewalk.
After embracing, Maxwell playfully runs in front of Finnegan, who gives chase. The adorable video went viral, having been viewed online millions of times.
The clip that Trump posted to his more than 82 million Twitter followers shows the same clip except that it is edited deceptively to make it appear as Finnegan, the white child, is chasing Maxwell.
As dramatic music plays in the background, the video flashes a ‘CNN BREAKING NEWS’ chyron at the bottom of the screen with the headline: ‘Terrified toddler runs from racist baby.’
The headline then changes to read: ‘Racist baby probably a Trump voter.’
The clip then shows the snippet that preceded the ‘chase’ segment – Maxwell and Finnegan running toward one another with open arms and then embracing.
The video ends with a blacked out screen that shows the message: ‘America is not the problem’
The next message that is flashed reads: ‘Fake news is’
‘If you see something, say something,’ reads the message flashed on the screen. ‘If you see something, say something’ is a phrase that was more widely used in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when Americans were encouraged to be vigilant in reporting suspicious behavior
‘Only you can prevent fake news dumpster fires’ is a play on words of the phrase made popular by Smokey Bear, the mascot used in the famous ad campaigns run by the United States Forest Service
That part of the video is shown with the cover version of the 1970 hit song (They Long to Be) Close to You playing in the background.
The clip then shows the original footage depicting Finnegan giving chase as Maxwell runs several feet in front of him.
The video ends with a blacked out screen that shows the message: ‘America is not the problem. Fake news is. If you see something, say something.
‘Only you can prevent fake news dumpster fires.’
‘If you see something, say something’ is a phrase that was more widely used in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when Americans were encouraged to be vigilant in reporting suspicious behavior.
Trump’s tweet prompted Twitter to add a disclaimer warning users that it was ‘manipulated media.’ The disclaimer links to a web page outlining Twitter policies as they relate to selectively edited clips
‘Only you can prevent fake news dumpster fires’ is a play on words of the phrase made popular by Smokey Bear, the mascot used in the famous ad campaigns run by the United States Forest Service.
The ads show Smokey Bear encourage the public by saying: ‘Only you can prevent forest fires!’
Trump’s tweet prompted Twitter to add a disclaimer warning users that it was ‘manipulated media.’
The disclaimer links to a web page outlining Twitter policies as they relate to selectively edited clips.
‘You may not deceptively promote synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm,’ Twitter’s guidelines state.
‘In addition, we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand their authenticity and to provide additional context.’
In recent weeks, Twitter has attached similar disclaimers to tweets by Trump, including one that was flagged for promoting violence toward protesters.
As looting and rioting spread in the wake of Floyd’s death, the president warned on Twitter that ‘when the looting starts, the shooting starts.’
Critics said the tweet was an implicit threat by Trump to put down riots using force, a charge that the president denies.
The doctored clip that Trump posted on Thursday implies the media is distorting events in order to promote a narrative that America is a racist country – a criticism often made among right-leaning conservatives who support Trump.
In recent weeks, America has been in the midst of upheaval following the police-involved death of George Floyd.
Floyd, 46, died in the custody of Minneapolis police on May 25.
Video of his arrest shows a white police officer, Derek Chauvin, kneeling on his neck, cutting off his air circulation for nearly nine minutes.
Chauvin and three other police officers have been arrested and charged.
Floyd’s killing sparked massive unrest that spread nationally and then globally as societies confronted the issue of racial injustice and police violence.
Trump has been criticized for his response to the protests as a growing number of Americans consider the president a divisive figure.
A new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that a majority think the president is exacerbating tensions in a moment of national crisis.
Most Americans – including 63 per cent of Republicans – say the country is heading in the wrong direction.
Trump (seen above on Thursday at the White House) is considered a divisive figure by a majority of Americans, according to a new poll
And close to two-thirds – including 37 per cent of Republicans – say Trump is making America more divided.
That pessimism poses reelection challenges for Trump in his face-off against Democrat Joe Biden.
Presidents seeking four more years in office typically rely on voters being optimistic about the direction the country is headed and eager to stay the course – a view most Americans don’t currently hold.
Just 24 per cent say the country is headed in the right direction, down from 33 per cent a month ago and 42 per cent in March.
That’s when the COVID-19 pandemic began taking hold in the United States, killing nearly 120,000 Americans to date and upending most aspects of daily life.
Overall, 37 per cent of Americans say they approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak – a dip from 44 per cent in March.
The fallout from the pandemic has been sweeping.
Beyond the public health risks, the economy suffered from a sudden jolt as states implemented strict stay-at-home orders.
Though some of those restrictions have started to ease and businesses in many places are now beginning to open, the unemployment rate still sits at 13.3 per cent.