In between tweets railing against CNN and boasting about the economy to the account for the show “Fox & Friends,” Donald Trump retweeted three unverified anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right leader.
Trump retweeted the three videos without comment. One was captioned, “Islamist mob pushes man off roof and beats him to death!,” the second, “Muslim destroys a statue of the Virgin Mary,” and the third, “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”
All three videos came from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First. Fransen was arrested last week for using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior” during a speech in August at the “Northern Ireland Against Terrorism” rally in Belfast.
And according to the Dutch blog No Style, the man shown in the third video is neither Muslim nor a migrant (nor a refugee, as other versions of the video claim) — and that he was already arrested thanks to the video, which has circulated since May.
Fransen and Britain First have a history of anti-Muslim rhetoric and are seen as far-right extremists and ultranationalists. The group is no longer an official political party due to “administrative reasons.” Its leader, Paul Golding, lost a 2016 bid to become mayor of London, finishing eighth against the Labour Party’s Sadiq Khan, who became London’s first Muslim mayor.
Trump’s retweets of the videos drew ire across social media, as the president was accused of spreading hatred. That included a tweet from Piers Morgan, whose Twitter account is one of the few that Trump actually follows.
Good morning, Mr President @realDonaldTrump – what the hell are you doing retweeting a bunch of unverified videos by Britain First, a bunch of disgustingly racist far-right extremists?
Please STOP this madness & undo your retweets.
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 29, 2017
Brendan Cox, the husband of British parliament member Jo Cox, who was murdered by a man with far-right ties who reportedly yelled “Put Britain first” as he attacked her, said Trump should be “ashamed of himself.”
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
Fransen herself seemed thrilled to get Trump’s apparent endorsement.
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! OCS @JaydaBF @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/BiQfQkTra9
— Jayda Fransen (@JaydaBF) November 29, 2017
It’s not the first time Trump has come under fire for taking what critics call an anti-Muslim stance. He singled out the religion when trying to institute a travel ban from several predominantly Muslim countries earlier this year — one that U.S. courts repeatedly struck down as unconstitutional before the Supreme Court allowed parts of it to take effect.
Britain First spends a lot of its time staging anti-Muslim stunts and sharing related rhetoric. It’s known for “invasions” of mosques and setting up “Christian patrols,” and has been accused of sharing misleading videos in order to disparage Muslims, as International Business Times has reported. It also has paid Facebook to promote its anti-Muslim messages and sometimes disguises them as memes and messages about protecting animals, as BuzzFeed reported.