Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke on Wednesday gave President Donald Trump effusive praise for retweeting three videos from the deputy leader of a far-right, anti-Islam British party.
The tweets came from an account linked to Britain First's Jayda Fransen, who was found guilty last year of religiously aggravated harassment for verbally abusing a Muslim woman wearing a hijab during a so-called "Christian patrol," and was arrested earlier this month for a speech she gave in Belfast.
The videos Trump retweeted from her account were captioned by Fransen "Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!"; "Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!"; and "Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!"
The Independent reports that the
content of the videos or their origin could not be independently verified, but local reports said the first showed the 2013 murder of a teenager who was himself likely to be a Muslim during riots over the coup against Mohamed Morsi.
The attacker in the video from the Netherlands was neither a Muslim nor a migrant, according to local media, and was arrested over the incident."
"Trump is promoting hatred of Muslims. That's what those retweets were about."Hours after the Muslim ban-promoting U.S. president retweeted the unverified videos, Duke issued a series of tweets cheering him for having shared them, saying "Thank God for Trump!"; "This is why WE LOVE TRUMP"; and "Trump is right!"
Spencer Ackerman, national security reporter for the Daily Beast, reacted to Trump's sharing of the videos, tweeting: "Trump is promoting hatred of Muslims. That's what those retweets were about. That is the content and the purpose of the tweets."
So it’s not lost in the sauce here: Trump is promoting hatred of Muslims. That’s what those retweets were about. That is the content and the purpose of the tweets. https://t.co/DCHLxaePX0
— Spencer Ackerman (@attackerman) November 29, 2017
According to British Labour MP David Lammy, "Trump has truly gone beyond the pale today" by "promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group." Lammy added that the president is "not welcome in my country and my city."
Do not forget that the man who murdered Jo Cox shouted "Britain First" as he did so. Trump has truly gone beyond the pale today. https://t.co/umMD6iUYVt
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) November 29, 2017
U.K. Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, meanwhile, called on his government to "condemn far-right retweets by Donald Trump. They are abhorrent, dangerous, and a threat to our society."
I hope our Government will condemn far-right retweets by Donald Trump. They are abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society.
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— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) November 29, 2017
In a rare condemnation of the U.S. president, a spokesperson for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, a Conservative, said in a statement, "It was wrong for [Trump] to have done this."
Brendan Cox tweeted: "Trump has legitimized the far right in his own country, now he's trying to do it in ours."
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
Trump's retweets were also noted by U.S. lawmakers.
Rep Keith Ellison tweeted: "As @realDonaldTrump flirts w/ shutdown, he has time to promote anti-Muslim hate videos posted by U.K.'s far-right."
— Rep. Keith Ellison (@keithellison) November 29, 2017
Speaking on the House floor, Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) said, "anyone who incites hate ought to be … removed from a position such that they can harm society."
"When hate emanates from the highest office in the land … when hate emanates from the presidency, the solution is impeachment," adding, "Impeachment will be voted on before Christmas."
According to Esquire's Jack Holmes, Trump "seems to have retweeted his way down a new, incredibly dark path."