Stoking the same anti-Islam sentiments he fanned on the campaign trail, President Donald Trump 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.”
Brushing off the criticism in an evening tweet, Trump said May instead of focusing on him should “focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom.”
Trump had 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.