UPDATE: The White House has defended President Trump's retweeting a few controversial Britain First posts depicting Muslims committing acts of violence. When asked, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Wednesday that "the threat is real."
“The threat needs to be addressed," she said. "The threat has to be talked about, and that’s what the president is doing in bringing that up.”
President Trump has angered many Brits by retweeting a group called Britain First who have published what some are calling "Islamophobic" posts.
Trump, who has 43.5 million followers on Twitter, retweeted three separate posts by Fransen on Wednesday, which all included separate, unverified, anti-Islamic videos.
One purported to show a group of Muslims pushing a boy off a roof. Another claimed to show a Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary and another claimed to show a Muslim immigrant hitting a Dutch boy on crutches. In the latter case at least the videos’ credibility was cast in doubt when it emerged that Dutch police and media never suggested the attacker was a Muslim immigrant in their coverage of the incident. (The Guardian)
British Prime Minister Theresa May is condemning the president's Twitter protocol.
"It is wrong for the president to have done this," a Downing Street spokesman said.
Brendan Cox, husband to slain Labour MP Jo Cox, was much more critical, accusing the president of legitimizing the "far right."
Trump has legitimised the far right in his own country, now he’s trying to do it in ours. Spreading hatred has consequences & the President should be ashamed of himself.— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) November 29, 2017
The matter struck such a nerve in Britain that the British House of Commons spent a few moments discussing Trump's tweets during a Point of Order.
Point of Order raised in British House of Commons regarding President Trump's tweets. pic.twitter.com/w4ZIDMMZGo— CSPAN (@cspan) November 29, 2017
At least two MPs were shocked that Trump had been retweeting “inflammatory” language by an individual who had been arrested and convicted of a hate crime. Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, was convicted of "religiously aggravated harassment."
Some MPs demanded a word of condemnation from the UK home secretary, while others wanted Trump's invitation rescinded.
Labour MP David Lammy said: “The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. He is no ally or friend of ours. [Donald Trump] you are not welcome in my country and my city.”
Downing Street, while disappointed in Trump's tweeting, insisted his state visit will proceed as scheduled.