Two more top U.K. officials have rebuked President Donald Trump’s retweeting incendiary videos posted by one of Britain’s most notorious far-right activists, adding fodder to the latest tensions between the two countries.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on British Prime Minister Theresa May to cancel Trump’s upcoming state visit for his sharing of videos posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, which she claimed depicted Muslims engaging in various violent or blasphemous acts. The accusations were later found to be either flawed, erroneous, or taken out of context. British Home Secretary Amber Rudd also reiterated Thursday what May had said the day before: Trump was wrong to amplify the anti-Muslim posts.
But Rudd insisted that the retweet wouldn’t have lasting effects on the so-called special relationship.
“When we look at the wider picture, the relationship between the U.K. and America, I know how valuable the friendship is between the two nations,” Rudd told Parliament. “It has undoubtedly saved British lives, that is the bigger picture here and I would urge people to remember that.”
One member of Parliament, Peter Bone, suggested that Trump delete his Twitter account, to which Rudd responded: “I’m sure many of us might share his view.”
Rudd also said she hopes May’s comments “will have some impact on the president.” No arrangements have been made for Trump’s state visit, she noted, which is expected to take place in 2018 despite months of protests from advocates and politicians in the U.K.
May first released a statement Wednesday reiterating the divisiveness of Britain First’s tactics, highlighting their “use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tension.”
“British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents ― decency, tolerance and respect,” she said.
May reaffirmed her position on Trump’s retweets during a news conference Thursday. “I’m very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do,” she said. “I have absolute confidence that my cabinet ministers would not be retweeting Britain First.”
She added that she doesn’t spend much time scrutinizing Twitter. “But when I feel there should be a response, I give it.”
Britain’s ambassador to the U.S., Kim Darroch, has also discussed the issue of the retweets with the White House, according to The Guardian’s Heather Stewart. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday also defended the tweets.
Trump rebuffed May’s condemnation in a tweet Wednesday.
It isn’t the first time Trump has been the subject of the U.K.’s disdain. May and Khan slammed his response to a terror attack in the U.K. capitol in September. British politicians of all stripes also condemned Trump after he called out Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, following another terror attack in June. May said he was “wrong” to have lashed out at Khan.
This post has been updated with May’s Thursday comments.
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