President Trump spent much of last week taking swipes at the news media, and CNN was a major target of Trump's ire on Twitter and at a closed-door campaign fundraiser, after the network retracted an article about one of his advisers and a Russian investment fund. But at the end of the week Trump drew more attention for personal attacks against MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski.
"Some White House advisers said they were frustrated that the Brzezinski feud," The Washington Post reported late Friday, "overtook the president's fight with CNN, which seemed in their eyes to have clearer villains and heroes." Early Sunday, Trump tweeted a gif of himself body-slamming a man whose head was replaced by the CNN logo, drawing statements of concern from CNN and the Committee to Protect Journalists about promoting violence against journalists.
On Monday, CNN's Andrew Kaczynski tracked down the identity of the Reddit user who claimed credit for creating the original gif, he reported Tuesday, and right after he tried to contact him, the user, "HanA**holeSolo," posted an apology on the pro-Trump subgroup /The_Donald. The user told his fellow Redditors he is sorry for his "racist, bigoted, and anti-semitic" posts, called internet trolling an addiction and "nothing more than bullying a wide audience," and said the Trump-CNN "meme was created purely as satire, it was not meant to be a call to violence against CNN or any other news affiliation."
"HanA**holeSolo" then called and confirmed his identity, Kaczynski says, and he "sounded nervous about his identity being revealed and asked to not be named out of fear for his personal safety and for the public embarrassment it would bring to him and his family." Not everyone was sympathetic.
But CNN is honoring the request because the guy "is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, showed his remorse by saying he has taken down all his offending posts, and because he said he is not going to repeat this ugly behavior on social media again," Kaczynski said, adding that "CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change." The White House won't say where Trump found the gif, but insists it wasn't at Reddit.