The administration did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Trump’s homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, defended the video when he viewed it for the first time during a broadcast interview with Martha Raddatz of ABC News. “No one would perceive that as a threat,” Mr. Bossert said. “I hope they don’t.”
“He’s a genuine president expressing himself genuinely,” Mr. Bossert added.
A version of Mr. Trump’s video appeared last week on a Trump-dedicated page on the message board site Reddit, a popular meeting ground for some of Mr. Trump’s most fervent supporters. The CNN logo appears to be superimposed on the head of Vince McMahon, a wrestling magnate and a friend of Mr. Trump, who in his prepresidential years often appeared as a guest on wrestling shows.
In a statement on Sunday, CNN wrote: “It is a sad day when the president of the United States encourages violence against reporters.” The network added: “Instead of preparing for his overseas trip, his first meeting with Vladimir Putin, dealing with North Korea and working on his health care bill, he is involved in juvenile behavior far below the dignity of his office. We will keep doing our jobs. He should start doing his.”
CNN also replied to Mr. Trump on Twitter with a quotation from one of the president’s press aides, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who in a briefing on Thursday told reporters: “The president in no way form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence. If anything, quite the contrary.”
Mr. Trump regularly accuses CNN of bias against him and his administration. Hours before posting the video, he tweeted to his 33 million followers, “I am thinking about changing the name #FakeNews CNN to #FraudNewsCNN!”