WASHINGTON – President Trump reacted to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s criticism of his retweets depicting alleged physical attacks carried out by Muslims, telling the British leader on Twitter late Wednesday to “focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom.”
.@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
Trump’s retweets – originally posted by a leader of a far-right anti-immigration British political party – earned the president rebukes from the British and Dutch governments, Muslim groups, and some Republican lawmakers on Wednesday. Trump later tweeted a message aimed at May, telling her not to “focus on me” and that “We are doing just fine!”
Critics including May accused Trump of trying to stir up anti-Muslim sentiment by retweeting the unverified videos posted by British First deputy leader Jayda Fransen.
Fransen posted the videos with the captions: “VIDEO: Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”; “VIDEO: Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!”; “VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”
Yet White House officials said Trump was underscoring the issue of violence by Muslim migrants in Europe.
“This is a long-term special relationship that we have” – PM Theresa May is asked to give her thoughts on President Trump’s behaviour pic.twitter.com/grTiChgK1p
— Sky News (@SkyNews) November 30, 2017
“These are real threats we have to talk about,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said, dismissing questions about the veracity of the videos after reports that one perpetrator was not a Muslim. “Whether it is a real video, the threat is real.”
May’s office criticized Trump for re-tweeting videos from Britain First, an organization it said seeks to “divided communities” through “hateful narratives” and lies.