President Trump spent early Wednesday morning retweeting several anti-Muslim conspiracy videos posted by a far-right extremist leader from the UK.
The videos were originally shared by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the far-right, ultra-nationalist group Britain First. The source and authenticity of the videos have not been verified. However, Dutch media is reporting that one of the clips, titled "Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!" didn't involve a Muslim or migrant perpetrator.
Fransen has never disguised her Islamophobic, anti-immigrant views. In November 2016, she was found guilty of "religious aggravated harassment" for verbally abusing a Muslim woman in front of her children. And she was arrested earlier this month over an Islamophobic speech she gave in Northern Ireland.
Inflammatory rhetoric and violence seems to be the modus operandi of the group: According to BuzzFeed News, members of Britain First have threatened to take "militant direct action" against elected officials who are Muslim. And even though the group has no elected representatives, it has exploited social media in their favour to disseminate anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant, and far-right content on the web.
It's not the first time that Trump has shared content by far-right social media accounts. Earlier this week, he retweeted a far-right, conspiracy theories website. And he has shared tweets by white supremacists or alt-right leaders on many occasions.
The White House defended the anti-Muslim retweets Wednesday morning, telling CBS: "Whether it's a real video, the threat is real. His goal is to promote strong border security and strong national security."
But the posts were condemned by several British leaders, from both the Labour and Conservative parties. A spokesperson for Prime Minister Theresa May said it was wrong for Trump to share the videos. "British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right which is the antithesis of the values this country represents, decency, tolerance and respect," the spokesperson said. "It is wrong for the president to have done this."