President Trump appears to have sourced his CNN wrestling tweet from a racist troll on Reddit

Trump spoke July 1 at a “Celebrate Freedom” event.
Trump spoke July 1 at a “Celebrate Freedom” event.
Image: Reuters/ Yuri Gripas
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In a test of whether the American public is still capable of being shocked, US president Donald Trump tweeted a video on July 2 of one of his old professional wrestling appearances, in which he tackles and beats someone with a poorly-edited facsimile of the CNN logo for a head.

Minutes after the video was tweeted, commenters on pro-Trump subreddit The_Donald rejoiced, believing they had been the source of the President’s post. “This is just unbelievable. I am in love with our President,” wrote user Ace_Suburb.

Reddit forum The_Donald
Reddit forum The_Donald

The_Donald is well-known as a cesspool for unabashed racism. Frequent poster HanAssholeSolo, who created and posted the CNN wrestling video clip four days ago, often refers to African-Americans, women, and Muslims using slurs. He or she attacks Black Lives Matter, Islam, feminism, liberals, and, bizarrely, the state of Maryland, and references fake news outlet Infowars.

After Trump’s tweet Sunday morning, HanAssholeSolo wrote “Wow!! I never expected my meme to be retweeted by the God Emperor himself!!!”

The user also started editing the worst obscenities and slurs out of his or her post history, eliminating the n-word, for example, and deleting a remark about killing all Muslims. Quartz had taken screenshots of HanAssholeSolo’s Reddit history earlier, however, so you can see how the posts looked before they were edited.

Here’s one example of the “after” version:

Reddit user HanAssholeSolo’s edited post
Reddit user HanAssholeSolo’s edited post
Image: Reddit/Screenshot

President Trump has traditionally had a close relationship with The_Donald, despite public outcry asking the president to denounce white nationalism and racism. Last July, when Trump was still on the campaign trail, he even participated in a Q&A session with the subreddit, and was asked everything from why 3rd party voters should vote Trump/Pence to “What is your stance or position on dealing with global warming as it affects our environment?” (He did not answer the latter.)

Where the US president gets his news and information has become a growing concern. He disputes the information in his official intelligence briefings and cites conspiracies from Fox New commentators. A BuzzFeed analysis last year of links Trump has tweeted also found a large bias towards right-wing, often non-fact based sites like Breibart and Newsmax. Politico has reported that Trump’s aides often slip him clippings from various right-wing news websites to gain advantage on policy matters. However, since Trump is a notorious Luddite and reportedly rarely uses a computer, it’s unlikely he’s scrolling through Reddit posts or right-wing blogs on his own.

It’s unknown how the video made its way from Reddit to Trump’s twitter feed. In May, New York Magazine noted another similarity between Trump’s Twitter account and The_Donald, suggesting that White House social media manager Dan Scavino might be regularly monitoring the site. Scavino didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Like many things about Trump’s Twitter account, we just may never know.