Two of President Donald Trump’s most controversial tweets were sent exactly a year apart, almost to the minute.
Both tweets were fired off on July 2, featured internet memes, and went up shortly after 9 a.m. ET.
The first, from 2016, was Trump’s tweet attacking then-presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with a meme that featured a photo of Clinton, a pile of money, and six-pointed star, commonly known as the Jewish Star of David. The accompanying text read “the most corrupt candidate ever!”
It went up on July 2, 2016, at 9:21 a.m. ET.
“A Star of David, a pile of cash, and suggestions of corruption,” wrote Erick Erickson, a conservative radio host. “Donald Trump again plays to the white supremacists.”
Trump’s account took the tweet down hours later and replaced the image of the six-pointed star with a circle that contained the same text.
It was reported shortly after the tweet caught fire that the same image of Clinton superimposed on a pile of money with the Jewish star appeared on the internet message board 8chan’s politics forum more than a week before Trump tweeted it. The forum is a hotspot for neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activity.
Trump days later told an Ohio audience that he regretted his campaign’s move to delete the original tweet, blaming CNN for its coverage of the post and calling the outlet’s reporters “sick,” ‘dishonest,” and “bad people.” He insisted the star was not the Star of David.
“So the star — which is a star, not the Star of David,” he told the Cincinnati crowd. “When they told me the Star of David, I said, you’ve got to be kidding. How sick are they? They’re the one with the bad tendencies when they can think that way.”
“‘You shouldn’t have taken it down,'” he said, as if he was speaking to Dan Scavino, the senior aide who posted the tweet. “You know they took the star down. I said, ‘Too bad, you should have left it up. I would have rather defended it just leave it up and say no that’s not a Star of David it’s just a star.'”
One year later, Trump posted at 9:37 a.m. on July 2 the edited video of him body-slamming a person with the CNN logo superimposed as a face. Like the first tweet, it appeared to be posted by Scavino, who now runs the White House’s social media operation. Like the first tweet, it also originated on an internet message board. This time, it was from Reddit’s pro-Trump forum, r/the_donald.
The tweet is now Trump’s most widely retweeted ever.
A user who went by the name “HanAssholeSolo” quickly celebrated Trump’s posting of his video, which featured a CNN logo edited over the face of WWE CEO Vince McMahon, who Trump went after in a staged 2007 wrestling event.
“HanAssholeSolo” posted the gif on the pro-Trump subreddit r/the_donald last week. Trump’s version included the addition of sound and a “Fraud News Network” logo at the end, but the Reddit user noted that Trump’s video matches his in terms of how it moves.
Some took the tweet to seemingly encourage violence against reporters. The Reddit user later apologised for his posts, which included several inflammatory remarks aimed at Jews, Muslims, and Black Americans, and deleted his account after being contacted by a CNN reporter.