While the world watched in shock as President Donald Trump tweeted a video of him beating up a man whose head was replaced by the CNN logo, there was at least one group of people that didn’t hide its ecstasy. Minutes after Trump sent his tweet that many immediately characterized as a greenlight for violence against the media, members of the controversial subreddit The_Donald were celebrating. Little wonder. The video that Trump tweeted on Sunday morning appears to have originated from the infamous group that has long been known as a hub for racist, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic, and misogynist content. And Trump’s apparent endorsement showed he is “one of us,” noted a post in the group that celebrated how “Dr. President Trump uses /r/The_Donald for shitpost inspiration.”
Four days ago, Reddit user HanAssholeSolo posted a similar edited version of the 2007 video of Trump punching and body-slamming World Wrestling Entertainment chief Vince McMahon.
The video Trump tweeted appeared to be the same gif that had been posted by the Reddit user except he converted it into a video and added sound. Plus the Trump version included an “FNN” logo at the end.
So, who is HanAssholeSolo? He or she has been a registered Reddit user since December 2015 and is a frequent participant in the subreddit The_Donald, according to data from Reddit Investigator. He or she is fond of posts denigrating blacks, Muslims, women, and, of course, liberals. HanAssholeSolo was over the moon by Trump’s tweet: “Wow!! I never expected my meme to be retweeted by the God Emperor himself!!!” At the same time he appears to have gone on a bit of an editing spree, knowing his posts would be under the microscope he started sanitizing some of his most offensive screeds, deleting the N-word and a comment about killing Muslims, for example. Quartz took screenshots of some of his posts before they were edited.
Despite the edits, there is still plenty of offensive material that HanAssholeSolo has posted that is still on the site (at least for now). The user, for example, posted a link to a meme that advocates running over Muslims with a tank. He or she also posted a meme that identified CNN contributors as Jews using a Star of David. The user also frequently posts racists comments that target African-Americans in particular, in one instance writing that Americans spend less on Father’s Day than Mother’s Day gifts because “most blacks don't know who their fathers are.” The troll nature of the user is perhaps best exemplified by a post in which HanAssholeSolo makes clear he just posts certain things to get a rise out of people. “Don’t mind me,” he writes in one post consisting of a burning Quran, “just posting an image to offend Islam.”
This is hardly the first time Trump appears to have gotten inspiration from the controversial subreddit with which he did a Q&A during the campaign. In May, Trump posted a December tweet from Rosie O’Donnell calling for then-FBI chief James Comey to be fired shortly after it had been posted in The_Donald