Trump’s retweets of anti-Mus­lim videos prompt up­roar.

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - By Cather­ine Lucey and Jill Law­less

WASH­ING­TON — Stok­ing the same anti-Is­lam sen­ti­ments he fanned on the cam­paign trail, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on Wed­nes­day retweeted a string of in­flam­ma­tory videos from a fringe Bri­tish po­lit­i­cal group pur­port­ing to show vi­o­lence be­ing com­mit­ted by Mus­lims.

The tweets drew a sharp con­dem­na­tion from Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s of­fice, which said it was “wrong for the pres­i­dent to have done this.” May spokesman James Slack said the far­right Bri­tain First group seeks to di­vide through its use of “hate­ful nar­ra­tives which ped­dle lies and stoke ten­sions.”

Brush­ing off the crit­i­cism in an evening tweet, Trump said May in­stead of fo­cus­ing on him should “fo­cus on the de­struc­tive Rad­i­cal Is­lamic Ter­ror­ism that is tak­ing place within the United King­dom.”

Trump had turned away from taxes, North Korea and other is­sues fac­ing his ad­min­is­tra­tion to share the three videos tweeted by Jayda Fransen, deputy leader of the Bri­tish group. It was not clear what drew him to the videos, though one had been shared by con­ser­va­tive com­men­ta­tor Ann Coul­ter the day be­fore.

White House spokes­woman Sarah Huck­abee San­ders said Trump was sim­ply pro­mot­ing bor­der se­cu­rity and sug­gested that ver­i­fy­ing the con­tent was not a top con­cern.

“Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the pres­i­dent is talk­ing about,” she said.

The tweets 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!”

Trump made anti-Mus­lim com­ments one hall­mark of his pres­i­den­tial cam­paign and has pre­vi­ously retweeted in­flam­ma­tory posts from con­tro­ver­sial Twit­ter ac­counts in­clud­ing some with ap­par­ent ties to white na­tion­al­ist groups. As pres­i­dent, he has sought to ban travel to the U.S. from a num­ber of ma­jor­i­tyMus­lim coun­tries.

His pro­mo­tion of the videos came two days af­ter he mocked Mas­sachusetts Sen. El­iz­a­beth War­ren as “Poc­a­hon­tas” dur­ing an Oval Of­fice event with Na­tive Amer­i­can vet­er­ans, draw­ing crit­i­cism from of Na­tive Amer­i­can war vet­er­ans and politi­cians of both ma­jor par­ties.

Bri­tain First op­poses what it calls the “Is­lamiza­tion” of Bri­tain. It has run can­di­dates in lo­cal and na­tional elec­tions, with lit­tle suc­cess, and has cam­paigned against the con­struc­tion and ex­pan­sion of mosques.

Trump’s retweets gave a wide plat­form to the pre­vi­ously ob­scure group. The videos were each shared more than 10,000 times, and Fransen picked up nearly 10,000 Twit­ter fol­low­ers in the hours fol­low­ing Trump’ s retweets.


Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump boards Air Force One at An­drews Air Force Base, Md., on Wed­nes­day to travel to Mis­souri where he will speak about tax re­form.

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