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Update 7:17am CT, April 10: Trump’s video is no longer available. On the original tweet, it now says that “This video has been removed in response to a report from the copyright holder.”
“The use of Warner Bros.’ score from The Dark Knight Rises in the campaign video was unauthorized,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “We are working through the appropriate legal channels to have it removed.”
The 2020 election may still seem worlds away for many people, but if a bizarre video he posted on Twitter today is any indication, it’s apparently been at the front of President Donald Trump’s mind.
The two-minute clip could easily be mistaken for a movie trailer. It’s filled with the dramatic cuts, montages, and the bombastic silver text you’d expect in a low-quality TV spot for The Avengers: Endgame. To top it off, many people noticed the musical overlay sounds identical to that of another action blockbuster, 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises (of which Trump is a professed fan).
Is this the theme music from The Dark Knight? https://t.co/LGnSQqoVsA— Allan Smith (@akarl_smith) April 9, 2019
The video begins with a message almost as confusing as its editing: “First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they call your racist.” Trump previously tweeted the same quote during the 2016 election, falsely attributing it to Mahatma Gandhi. The quote’s origins remain unknown, but images associating it with the activist have been used as memes for years.
What follows next is a montage appearing to highlight some of the heights of Trump’s presidency: his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, news clips detailing recent economic growth, and his appearance at rallies filled with screaming supporters. Interspersed are more contentious moments, such as the hearing for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the release of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Without explanation, the video also flashes clips of some of Trump’s biggest detractors. Footage of Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton is spliced with images of money and CNN. Celebrities like Rosie O’Donnell, Amy Schumer, and Bryan Cranston make a similarly confusing appearance. Afterward, the text “Your vote proved them wrong” flies onscreen.
The video’s final message answers few of the many, many questions it raises. “Trump: The Great Victory” appears before fading into an apparent reference to the 2020 election.
The internet was, in a word, baffled. “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!” was the only explanation Trump offered in his original tweet.
What exactly the video constitutes—a campaign ad, political propaganda, a Dark Knight tribute—is anyone’s guess. And it’s left people on Twitter scratching their heads—and wondering how soon he plans to fire his production team.
Why did Brian Cranston get called out? https://t.co/KKugtUj0kR— Dylan Schuck (@schuckster) April 9, 2019
Official trailer for the worst Presidential campaign of all time. https://t.co/qbzcFsLZjq— Stormy (@AirfromSea) April 9, 2019
Lmfao who made this? A high school freshman with iMovie? Also keep Hans Zimmer's great music out of your shitty propaganda https://t.co/XSM4OUFa5D— T. Payne (@timpaynex) April 9, 2019
Why the fuck this feel like Trump is about to team up with Ironman and beat Thanos' ass? https://t.co/oQ1XZRCITJ— Galactic Pretty Boy (@RebelWatt) April 9, 2019
Alyse Stanley is a video game and culture reporter based in Virginia with words at Polygon and USGamer. When she’s not writing about memes, she edits Unwinnable’s monthly magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @pithyalyse.