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WHITE HOUSE — President Donald Trump appears to have endorsed three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos posted on Twitter by a far-right British politician, re-tweeting them on his @realdonaldtrump account.
The re-tweets appeared Wednesday morning and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders did not immediately respond to a VOA request to verify their authenticity.
The messages were first posted by Jayda Fransen, deputy head of the far-right British party Britain First, who has more than 52,000 followers on Twitter.
The descriptions of the videos read: “VIDEO: Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!” and “VIDEO: Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “VIDEO: Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”
Frandsen responded to the presidential retweets with a thank you message noting that Trump had 44 million followers, dramatically increasing the reach of the videos. “God bless you Trump! God bless America,” she tweeted.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Wednesday condemned what it called Trump’s “incitement to violence against American Muslims.” The national executive director of the Muslim civil rights and advocacy group called on all American political and religious leaders to condemn the president’s actions.
“By his unconscionable and irresponsible actions this morning, President Trump is clearly telling members of his base that they should hate Islam and Muslims,” CAIR’s Nihad Awad said in a statement. “These are actions one would expect to see on virulent anti-Muslim hate sites, not on the Twitter feed of the president of the United States.”
The presidential retweets sparked angry replies across the Internet. British journalist Piers Morgan, who appeared on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” TV show years ago, posted a tweet Wednesday urging the president to stop.
“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,” Morgan wrote.
During his campaign for the presidency, Trump regularly called for a “Muslim ban”. Among his first moves as president was to issue executive orders that would have blocked entry to the United States from citizens of a handful of Muslim-majority countries. The courts blocked those orders, though subsequent decisions have allowed severe restrictions on migrants from some countries with lax immigration controls.
The BBC reported that Fransen, who lives in a London suburb, was charged earlier this month with using “threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior” during speeches she made in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She was previously convicted in 2016 of abusing a woman wearing traditional Muslim dress.
Her party, Britain First, was founded in 2011 by former members of the far-right British National Party. The party has run candidates in parliamentary and European elections and bi-elections, but without success. In the recent election for mayor of London, the party received 1.2% of the vote.