Weakling UK prime minister Theresa May has still not responded to US President Donald Trump’s decision to retweet hate messages by far-right organisation Britain First.
So Mr Trump has attacked comments by a Downing Street spokesperson who said simply that it was “wrong” to have retweeted the misleading, extremist messages.
The message from Downing Street was: “British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents – decency, tolerance and respect.”
Here’s Mr Trump’s response:
.@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
This is a clear endorsement of the hate message put forward in the Britain First tweets.
Mr Trump is urging Mrs May to consider all Muslims in the UK to be potential terrorists and to launch a racist policy against them.
This is utterly unacceptable from a foreign leader. He is trying to divide members of the UK community from the rest of us and accusing them of conspiring against the majority in a way that simply isn’t true, except in a tiny minority of cases. He knows next to nothing about the situation – clearly, as he is getting his information from far-right propaganda-peddlers.
And he is trying hard to make it worse. One has to question his motives, attempting to destabilise the UK at a time when this country’s domestic political situation is already highly-charged.
But still Theresa May remains silent, leaving it to her Downing Street spokespeople – and the public – to comment.
You have a mass shooting every single day in your country, your murder rate is many times that of the UK, your healthcare system is a disgrace, you can’t pass anything through a congress that you control. I would focus on that. https://t.co/SNcqOZGvLQ
— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) November 30, 2017
Dear Republican and Tory Supporters,
Your President and Prime Minister are having a public spat on Twitter.
Can we get rid of them both and put the adults back in charge please?
Just stop voting for them, OK?
The Adults https://t.co/9TXe83KV5C
— Tom Pride (@ThomasPride) November 30, 2017
Theresa May: your failure to denounce Donald Trump's inflammatory tweets about the UK is pure cowardice. If you can't defend this nation, step aside, call an election and let someone else have a chance.
— George Monbiot (@GeorgeMonbiot) November 30, 2017
Note that the tweet above is also a retweet – originally Mr Trump sent the message to the wrong Theresa May (from which we may draw our own conclusions about his state of mind):
Mrs May’s deputies, in Parliament, have done their best to cover for her, with Home Secretary Amber Rudd trying to answer an Urgent Question in the Commons – answering the kind of criticism no US president has ever received from Parliament in the past:
🇬🇧Donald Trump is facing unprecedented criticism in the Commons chamber today. MPs calling him “fascist”, “stupid”, spreading “evil” and “racist or incompetent or ignorant or all three” – remarks of a vehemence never heard before about a US president in the UK Parliament 🇬🇧
— Sam Coates Sky (@SamCoatesSky) November 30, 2017
Ms Rudd said the Government will not tolerate any groups that spread hate by demonising other faiths or ethnicities – but refused to condemn the US President, saying the UK-US relationship is “vital” and MPs needed to focus on the “bigger picture”.
She would not accept calls to cancel the invitation for Mr Trump to make a state visit to the UK.
But – shockingly – she could not answer a simple question: Whether the UK government had asked for Mr Trump to take the offending tweets down.
— Dawn Butler MP✊🏾 (@DawnButlerBrent) November 30, 2017
Liz McInnes asked the Home Sec if anyone in the British Govt has requested that Donald Trump’s tweets be taken down. Amber Rudd says she will check.. and get back to her.
(Murmurs around the Chamber)
— MagsNews (@MagsNews) November 30, 2017
As part of the debate, Labour MP Khalid Mahmood made a very useful point, asking the Home Secretary if a Muslim would still be welcome in Britain if they had shared similarly inflammatory material to that posted by the US President.
Depressingly, Mr Trump’s retweets have revived the fortunes of Britain First, the far-right group that originally posted the messages. Deputy leader Jayda Fransen has been interviewed on both the BBC and Channel 4, providing a huge and harmful public platform for the minority organisation’s extremist views.
Just as Britain First looks to be fading into obscurity @realDonaldTrump brings them back to life. And then some.
This president is no friend of ours.
— Wolfie. 🖐 (@Tpopularfront) November 29, 2017
As our broadcasters give an array of fascists and far-right cranks airtime, they've ensured that Donald Trump has succeeded in promoting bigotry and hatred. A slow handclap for the British media.
— Owen Jones 🌹 (@OwenJones84) November 30, 2017
Meanwhile the condemnation continues to rack up. Here’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was criticised by Mr Trump over his response to terror attacks in the UK’s capital city:
President Trump has used Twitter to promote a vile, extremist group that exists solely to sow division and hatred in our country. It's increasingly clear that any official visit from President Trump to Britain would not be welcomed. https://t.co/rwJJ5saSAb pic.twitter.com/bus3kMWIfk
— Mayor of London (gov.uk/coronavirus) (@MayorofLondon) November 30, 2017