Updated 3:51 p.m. ET
President Trump on Wednesday morning shared with his millions of Twitter followers incendiary videos from a far-right British anti-Muslim party, drawing criticism from Britain’s prime minister and Islamic groups.
The videos are from Britain First. The group’s deputy leader, Jayda Fransen, claims they show Muslims beating non-Muslims. The three that Trump shared were titled “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch Boy on crutches!” and “Muslim destroys a statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”
The provenance of the videos is not clear. But at least one of the three, which purported to show the Muslim migrant beating a Dutch citizen was debunked. The Netherlands Embassy says the perpetrator was, in fact, a Dutch citizen who was convicted.
Fransen was convicted in Britain in November 2016 of religiously aggravated harassment after abusing a woman wearing a hijab. Earlier this month, she was charged with using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior” after a speech she made in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
She appeared to be ecstatic over Trump’s retweets, proclaiming in all caps, “THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, DONALD TRUMP, HAS RETWEETED THREE OF DEPUTY LEADER JAYDA FRANSEN’S TWITTER VIDEOS! DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS RETWEETED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS! GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP! GOD BLESS AMERICA!”
Trump has previously demonstrated his animosity toward the Muslim faith, declaring “Islam hates us” during last year’s presidential campaign, as well as calling for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s sharing of the videos. “Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about.” She said Trump wants to “promote strong borders and strong national security.”
The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Wednesday what it called the president’s “incitement to violence against American Muslims.”
And a spokesman for British Prime Minister Theresa May said, “It is wrong for the president to have done this.”
Trump’s decision to retweet the videos was criticized on Twitter by at least one ally, former CNN host Piers Morgan, who called the retweets “madness.” Morgan won the Trump reality show “Celebrity Apprentice” in 2008.
But another prominent Trump supporter was all for it — former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke, who said Trump was “showing us what the fake news media WON’T.”