On Wednesday's edition of CNN's New Day, hosts Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota addressed the apology the network was able to get from the Reddit user behind the gif of President Trump wrestling a CNN image superimposed on WWE founder Vince McMahon. Trump tweeted out the gif and received widespread condemnation from the mainstream media.
"Something remarkable I thought happened yesterday, I thought it was remarkable that CNN found the Reddit user who created the gif of Donald Trump and the wrestling video and where he punches CNN, so the investigative team went back and found the guy who first created this he took credit for it, and then here comes the remarkable part, he apologized. He apologized for having done this," Camerota said.
"This is a very full-throated I think genuine honest apology. He has also asked we not reveal his name or whereabouts and we at CNN are honoring that," the co-host also said.
Notably, CNN decided not to reveal the identity of the Reddit user, HanAssholeSolo, if he issued an apology and promised not to continue publishing racist material. Some political commenters are calling the move by the CNN investigative team extortion. Donald Trump Jr. retweeted Dave Rubin's accusation that CNN extorted a private citizen for legal behavior.
"Don't make a gif or CNN will tell on you!" Rubin tweeted.
Camerota said it was actually the Reddit user that asked CNN not to reveal his name.
"Honestly, the reason I think this is so notable, Chris Cillizza, is because this is a very full-throated I think genuine honest apology," Camerota said. "He has also asked we not reveal his name or whereabouts and we at CNN are honoring that because he's apologized and he thinks he would then be in danger and at risk if other people knew his name. We get it. We understand that. So I don't know, I just think that this is just a very interesting addendum to this whole story."
CNN's 'KFILE' publisher Andrew Kaczynski wrote the network would not be publishing the identity of the user "because he is a private citizen who has issued an extensive statement of apology, [that] showed his remorse."
"CNN reserves the right to publish his identity should any of that change," Kaczynski warned in his article.
UPDATE (7/4 @ 8:34 AM ET): On Wednesday morning, Kaczynski tweeted out some details of the user: "Need to point out again HanAssholeSolo is a middle aged man. People claiming he's 15 are wrong. Some are intentionally spreading this."
Need to point out again HanAssholeSolo is a middle aged man. People claiming he's 15 are wrong. Some are intentionally spreading this.— andrew kaczynski 🤔 (@KFILE) July 5, 2017
As of 8:30 AM the hashtag #CNNBlackmail was trending on Twitter.
Cuomo deleted a tweet earlier this morning where he asked followers if CNN should reveal the name of the Reddit user. He tweeted: "Should CNN reveal name of Reddit user who made trump wrestling video? Had a lot of bigoted and hateful material on page and website."
Cuomo: Hold my cosmopolitan. pic.twitter.com/v3RYS16F3c— Calvin ಠ_ರೃ (@analyticalps) July 5, 2017
CNN contributor Chris Cillizza called the apology that saved the user's name from being revealed a "nice thing."
"It was certainly not the outcome I would have thought once we tracked him down. You know, and I think it's actually a nice thing," Cillizza said of the network's decision.
However, Cillizza said the part of the story that will "get overshadowed" is the White House not revealing where Trump got the wrestling gif from. The CNN commentator acknowledged the G-20 and North Korea would take precedence.
"It was certainly not the outcome I would have thought once we tracked him down. You know, and I think it's actually a nice thing. I would remind people, unless I'm mistaken, I saw quotes coming out of the White House over the weekend saying, this -- Donald Trump did not get this image from Reddit. sSo, where did it come from? I mean, you know, I hate to say it, I think it's almost certain he did, but then why is the White House saying he didn't. I mean, you know, this, you know, this -- I took, sorry, Alisyn, I took a nice thing, which is a guy at least being willing to say I shouldn't have done this," Cillizza said.
"When exposed and identified he then decided to apologize for multiple entries on his account," Cuomo chimed in.
"Good enough," Camerota said.
"But the point is, why is the White House on the record saying that's not where he got it from?" Cillizza asked. "I mean, he had it from somewhere, right? I mean Donald Trump didn't build that gif. I hope. I hope he has better things to do."
"So it came from somewhere. And if this guy is saying yeah, I did it, and it's me, I shouldn't have done it, then why is the White House saying, nope, that's not it. Where did it come from? I mean, I this is going to get overshadowed and probably rightly so, frankly, the G-20, North Korea... but it is just one of the many logical inconsistencies that come out of the White House that there's so many, frankly, that it's hard to cover them all," Cillizza said.