President Donald Trump’s critics expressed shock after his campaign on Tuesday tweeted an ad showing him destroying his Democratic rivals as the Marvel super villain Thanos.
In the video, posted by the Trump War Room Twitter account, Trump’s face is superimposed on Thanos’ body in a scene from the 2019 blockbuster “Avengers: Endgame.” At the climax of the movie, Thanos declares, “I am inevitable,” in an attempt to end all life in the universe.
The campaign ad flashes to a clip of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announcing articles of impeachment against Trump earlier in the day. A black cloud of dust wipes them off the screen.
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“House Democrats can push their sham impeachment all they want. President Trump’s re-election is inevitable,” reads the tweet’s caption.
Trump supporters recognized the meme as a prediction of the president’s “inevitable” reelection in 2020, despite the Democrats’ pending impeachment of him. But opponents of the president were less understanding.
Everyone knows the Thanos meme means you have defeated someone, but since the Trump campaign tweeted now they’re pretending to be concerned that it signifies mass murder! ? https://t.co/0oHrxoB8AY
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) December 11, 2019
Many liberal commenters faulted Trump’s campaign for comparing him to a fictional genocidal warlord, while other literalists noted that Thanos appears to die later in the scene.
There’s several levels of fail here.
1: You’re comparing Trump to a genocidal warlord.
2: That same warlord killed half the universe, tortured one daughter, and murdered the others.
3: This is the scene where Thanos realizes he’s been tricked and defeated. https://t.co/qV62rVm26i
— John ? PAX East (@mistermegative) December 10, 2019
Jim Starlin, the comic book writer who created Thanos in 1973, condemned the campaign ad, saying it made him feel “violated.”
“After my initial feeling of being violated, seeing that pompous fool using my creation to stroke his infantile ego, it finally struck me that the leader of my country and the free world actually enjoys comparing himself to a mass murderer,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “How sick is that? These are sad and strange times we are going through. Fortunately, all things, even national nightmares, eventually come to an end.”
House Democrats can push their sham impeachment all they want.
President Trump's re-election is ??????????. pic.twitter.com/O7o02S26nS
— Trump War Room – Text TRUMP to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) December 10, 2019
On CNN, anchor Don Lemon struggled to report the news. After airing the ad, Lemon was silent for several seconds.
Then, he stammered, “What are we in junior high school? What the hell? What is this? What? What?! I cannot believe that I’m even having to report this on the news. This is crazy. This is literally crazy. Are you people insane? Are you insane?”
Calming down, Lemon went on to deliver a lecture about the momentousness of the moment.
“Go ahead, troll the Democrats on Twitter. Do this stupid, silly you know what. Play this stupid juvenile meme game. History won’t record this mean, stupid crap,” he said. “But history will record this: The seriousness of what is happening. Today is the day that the House of Representatives in the United States of America introduced articles of impeachment against President Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States of America, for committing high crimes and misdemeanors.”
Some Trump supporters promptly mocked the anchor from being “triggered.”
Wow – @TrumpWarRoom really triggered @donlemon with a Thanos meme
I wonder if Lemon has ever heard of a meme before ? pic.twitter.com/eBsYTiUyuY
— Students For Trump (@TrumpStudents) December 11, 2019
Others tweeted the meme at Lemon.
Whatever you do, absolutely do not Tweet this video at @donlemon pic.twitter.com/MWcxFCKP3C
— ALX ?? (@alx) December 11, 2019
Trump, who has put Twitter at the center of his presidency like no one before him, has faced meme-related controversies since his 2016 campaign. Last month, he triggered backlash by tweeting an image depicting him as movie boxer Rocky Balboa. In October, The White House Correspondents’ Association led denunciation of an edited movie scene in which Trump appears to slaughter members of the news media.