Trump attacks Theresa May over her criticism of his far right retweets

Chennai November 30: US President Donald Trump publicly rebuked Theresa May over her criticism of anti-Muslim propaganda, opening an diplomatic spat between the trans-Atlantic allies.

His message came as a response to criticism from the British prime minister’s spokesman over his re-tweeting “provocative” videos posted by the deputy leader of a British far-right group.

However, the “@theresamay” Twitter handle that Trump targeted does not belong to Theresa May the British prime minister, but a woman called Theresa Scrivener. Minutes later Trump deleted and re-posted the tweet, this time with the correct handle: @Theresa_May.

Hostility with the UK deepened on Wednesday when Trump highlighted videos from the feed of Jayden Fransen of Britain First that allegedly showed a group of Muslims pushing a boy off a roof. Another claimed to show a Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary, and a third claimed to show a Muslim immigrant hitting a Dutch boy on crutches.

The credibility of the last video was immediately undermined when the Dutch embassy in the US said the perpetrator of the violent act in the video was born and raised in the Netherlands. Fransen has been charged with using threatening or abusive language following an appearance at a far-right rally in Belfast this summer.

Trump’s decision to share the tweets was labeled “abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our country” by the Labour party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, while several other members of parliament said his planned state visit should be canceled.

Theresa May’s spokesman said on Wednesday: “Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people. 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.”

But the White House defended the retweets. The principal deputy press secretary, Raj Shah, told reporters on Air Force One: “We think that it’s never the wrong time to talk about security and public safety for the American people. Those are the issues he was raising with the tweets this morning.”

Asked if Trump was aware of the source of the tweets, Shah replied: “I haven’t spoken to him about that.”

Edited by Avantika Gupta with Agency Inputs