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Trump’s Muslim retweets draw fire from U.S. and abroad

  • President Donald Trump walks to board Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017, in Washington. Stoking the same anti-Islam sentiments he fanned on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump on Wednesday retweeted a string of inflammatory videos from a fringe British political group purporting to show violence being committed by Muslims. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Evan Vucci

  • This screenshot from President Donald Trump's Twitter account shows three retweets that he posted early Wednesday morning, Nov. 29, 2017, from the account of Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the British far-right fringe group Britain First. The origins of the videos in the tweets could not immediately be determined. They purport to show violence being committed by Muslims. (Twitter via AP)

  • President Donald Trump pauses as the media departs after he spoke in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. AP

  • FILE - This is a March 1, 2017 file photo of deputy leader of far-right group Britain First Jayda Fransen. British opposition politicians are demanding the government revoke an invitation to U.S. President Donald Trump after he retweeted videos posted by Jayda Fransen deputy leader of extreme far-right group Britain First. On Wednesday Nov. 29, 2017m Trump retweeted three videos from the account of the group's deputy leader, Jayda Fransen, purporting to show violence by Muslims. (Ben Stevens/PA File via AP) Ben Stevens



Associated Press
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Stoking the same anti-Islam sentiments he fanned on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump on Wednesday retweeted a string of inflammatory videos from a fringe British political group purporting to show violence being committed by Muslims.

The tweets drew a sharp condemnation from British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office, which said it was “wrong for the president to have done this.” May spokesman James Slack said the far-right Britain First group seeks to divide through its use of “hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions.”

Trump turned away from taxes, North Korea and other issues facing his administration to share the three videos tweeted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the British group. It was not clear what drew him to the videos, though one had been shared by conservative commentator Ann Coulter the day before.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was simply promoting border security and suggested that verifying the content was not a top concern.

“Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about,” she said.

The tweets read: “VIDEO: Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” and “VIDEO: Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”

Trump made anti-Muslim comments one hallmark of his presidential campaign and has previously retweeted inflammatory posts from controversial Twitter accounts including some with apparent ties to white nationalist groups. As president, he has sought to ban travel to the U.S. from a number of majority-Muslim countries.

His promotion of the videos came two days after he mocked Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” during an Oval Office event with Native American veterans, drawing criticism from of Native American war veterans and politicians of both major parties.

Britain First opposes what it calls the “Islamization” of Britain. It has run candidates in local and national elections, with little success, and has campaigned against the construction and expansion of mosques.

Trump’s retweets gave a wide platform to the previously obscure group. The videos were each shared more than 10,000 times, and Fransen picked up nearly 10,000 Twitter followers in the hours following Trump’s retweets. She thanked him on Twitter, saying “GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP!”

Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke also welcomed the videos, tweeting that Trump was being “condemned for showing us what the fake news media WON’T. Thank God for Trump! That’s why we love him!”