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Donald Trump shares image of Joe Biden with hands and feet tied

Former president Donald Trump disseminated on social media on Friday an image of President Biden with his hands and feet tied, the latest example of the Republican candidate’s use of increasingly violent rhetoric and imagery this campaign season.

The image can be seen about halfway through a 20-second video that Trump posted on his Truth Social site. The post says it was recorded Thursday on Long Island, where Trump traveled this week to attend a wake for a recently killed police officer.

In the video, two trucks decorated with giant Trump flags and altered American flags are driving on a highway. On the tailgate door of one of the trucks is the image of Biden bound and lying horizontally.

Similar images of Biden have been circulating on social media for months, if not years, on sites including Instagram, Reddit and Twitter, before the platform changed its name to X. In February, the popular World Star Hip Hop site posted a video of a truck it said was in California featuring such an image.

“This image from Donald Trump is the type of crap you post when you’re calling for a bloodbath or when you tell the Proud Boys to ‘stand back and stand by,’” said Michael Tyler, communication director for Biden’s campaign, referring to the right-wing group involved in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol. “Trump is regularly inciting political violence and it’s time people take him seriously — just ask the Capitol police officers who were attacked protecting our democracy on January 6.”

Steven Cheung, a spokesman for Trump’s campaign, sent a lengthy statement distancing the campaign from the image, and accusing Democrats of using violent rhetoric against Trump.

“That picture was on the back of a pick up truck that was traveling down the highway,” Cheung said in the statement. “Democrats and crazed lunatics have not only called for despicable violence against President Trump and his family, they are actually weaponizing the justice system against him.”

The message remained live on Trump’s feed late Friday night.

Among the examples Cheung cited in his statement were Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) saying in 2017 “What we’ve got to do is fight in Congress, fight in the courts, fight in the streets, fight online, fight at the ballot box …” Cheung also cited Biden’s 2018 comment, when he said, “If we were in high school, I’d take him [Trump] behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”

Trump has a history of sharing and promoting violent images featuring his perceived enemies.

In October, Trump shared a doctored video of him hitting a golf ball that hits Biden and knocks him down. (It was similar to a doctored video he shared in 2017, hitting a golf ball into the back of Hillary Clinton, who falls down as a result.) In April 2023, a judge issued a warning to Trump after an image of him holding a bat next to an image of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) was shared from one of the former president’s verified accounts.

In July 2017, Trump shared a video of himself at a professional wrestling match, beating up a man whose face is covered with the CNN logo. The verified account for CNN’s communication team responded to the video with a quote from Trump’s White House spokeswoman at the time, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, falsely claiming Trump “in no way form or fashion has ever promoted or encouraged violence.”

Earlier this month, Trump told supporters in Ohio that some immigrants who are accused of crimes are “not people,” and warned it will be a “bloodbath for the country” if he is not elected.

The latest episode has coincided with Trump’s increasing use of violent and hostile rhetoric as he seeks to return to the White House. In December, he told people in New Hampshire that immigrants were “poisoning the blood of our country” — a phrase that immigrant groups and civil rights advocates condemned and said was reminiscent of Hitler telling Germans, in his book “Mein Kampf,” to “care for the purity of their own blood” by eliminating Jews.

Trump held his first rally of this campaign season in March 2023, in Waco, Tex., a city made famous decades earlier for the deadly showdown between FBI officials and cult members that helped fuel the anti-government militia movement. At the rally, Trump played a song sung by people held in prison for crimes related to the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, a group he has since repeatedly referred to as “patriots,” and “hostages.”

Isaac Arnsdorf contributed to this repor

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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