Twitter removes campaign video of Trump scoring touchdown against Covid-19

Donald Trump’s election campaign may claim the president has beaten Covid-19, but it fell foul of the NFL’s copyright rules on Tuesday.

The campaign tweeted a video of the San Francisco 49ers’ Brandon Aiyuk leaping over a Philadelphia Eagles defender on his way to scoring a touchdown during Sunday’s game between the two teams. The campaign superimposed Trump’s head on Aiyuk’s body (an unkind comparison: unlike the president, Aiyuk is not clinically obese) with Covid-19 as the Eagles defender. The video was a reference to the president’s release from hospital after treatment for Covid-19. He also told Americans that they shouldn’t be “afraid of Covid”, a virus that has killed more than 200,000 people in the US.

However, on Tuesday the video was removed from Twitter with a message that said “this media has been disabled in response to a report by the copyright owner.” The video also showed a brief clip of an anti-Trump protester from an ITV News report. It is unclear if ITV News or the NFL, which Trump has regularly criticised over player protests, requested the removal.

Trump’s attempts to downplay the dangers of Covid-19 have been attacked by public health experts and doctors. There has also been speculation that the president has downplayed the toll the virus has taken on his health. There may be a warning from the video too: the Eagles came back from 14-8 down to win Sunday’s game 25-20.

The president often depicts himself as a model of sporting excellence. He is proud of his golf game, although there are many stories of him cheating. He has also claimed he could have played baseball professionally, although his record in high school suggests otherwise.

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