The Instagram account for Democratic socialist and presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) has posted a doctored video mocking an assassination scare against President Donald Trump in order to raise campaign funds.
What are the details?
The clip — posted Sunday — shows footage from a 2016 incident in Ohio where then-candidate Trump was startled during a speech when a man attempted to rush the stage. In the chaos, members of the Secret Service ran to protect Trump “seeming to fear an assassination attempt,” the Independent reported.
Bernie Sanders’ official Instagram account released a doctored version showing Sanders superimposed in the background, appearing to frighten President Trump from behind with the message, “Want to really scare Trump? Help us show the strength of our campaign to defeat him — chip in before our fundraising deadline at midnight.”
The post received a range of reactions, with some followers finding humor in the video and others calling it “sick” to joke about an actual attack on a sitting president.
According to The Washington Examiner, the suspect who tried to rush the stage in the 2016 incident was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and inducing panic. The man, named Thomas DiMassimo, eventually pleaded guilty to entering ‘a restricted area where a person protected by the Secret Service was temporarily visiting, without lawful authority.”
The Daily Mail reported that the footage of Sanders lurching forward comes from a 2015 interview where he showed off his ability to play “monster” with his grandchildren.
Journalist Yashar Ali reported that Sanders posted the doctored video as part of his campaign’s second quarter fundraising push. The senator from Vermont is currently polling in second place amid the candidates running for the Democratic presidential nomination, but RealClear Politics‘ collective data shows Sanders remains several points behind front-runner Joe Biden.
Sanders launched his 2020 presidential campaign with strong fundraising numbers, capitalizing off the strong following he built while running for the Democratic nomination in 2016. But according to Business Insider the Sanders campaign has become “virtually stagnant” while rivals such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and Kamala Harris (Calif.) have gained ground.