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Trump hits out at UK PM May over tweets

Published: November 30, 2017 10:57:49 | Updated: November 30, 2017 15:55:54


Donald Trump and Theresa May at the White House in January, photo collected

Donald Trump has told UK Prime Minister Theresa May to focus on "terrorism" in the UK after she criticised his sharing of far-right videos.

"Don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom," Mr Trump tweeted.

The US president had earlier retweeted three inflammatory videos posted online by a British far-right group.

Mrs May's spokesman said it was "wrong for the president to have done this".
The US and the UK are close allies and often described as having a "special relationship". Theresa May was the first foreign leader to visit the Trump White House.

The videos shared by Mr Trump, who has more than 40 million followers, were initially posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a group founded by former members of the far-right British National Party (BNP).
Ms Fransen, 31, has been charged in the UK with using "threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour" over speeches she made at a rally in Belfast.
Several leading UK politicians have criticised the president for retweeting her posts, as has the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who said it was "deeply disturbing" that Mr Trump had "chosen to amplify the voice of far-right extremists".
And it has led to renewed calls for Mr Trump's planned state visit to the UK to be cancelled, although Downing Street said on Wednesday that the invitation still stood.
In hitting out at Mrs May, Mr Trump first tagged the wrong Twitter account, sending his statement to a different user with just six followers. He then deleted the tweet and posted it again, this time directing the message to the UK PM's official account.
An unnecessary controversy
It's clear at this point that Donald Trump won't let a perceived slight or criticism go unanswered - even if it's from a supposed friend. Even if it's from the leader of the president's closest international ally.

So shock isn't exactly the right word to describe the reaction to Mr Trump's initially botched attempt to tell Theresa May to, in effect, mind her own business. This is just another example of the US president's self-described "modern-day presidential" use of social media, where Twitter is a cudgel for score-settling no matter the diplomatic cost.

When Mr Trump assumed the presidency, one of the first foreign dignitaries he received was Mrs May, and it appeared they formed a quick bond -

It's a wholly unnecessary controversy, but the international consequences could be all too real.

What did Trump retweet?
The first video purportedly shows a "Muslim migrant" attacking a young Dutch man on crutches. However, the claim in this tweet appears to have little substance.

A spokesperson from the Dutch Public Prosecution Service told the BBC that the person arrested for the attack "was born and raised in the Netherlands" and was not a migrant, reports BBC.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Wednesday that Mrs May and other world leaders knew that "these are real threats that we have to talk about"."Whether it's a real video, the threat is real," she said. What other reaction has there been?

Mr Trump's actions on Wednesday were criticised by both Democrats and Republicans.

Republican Senator John McCain said he was "surprised" at the president's tweets.

Meanwhile, Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah said that Mrs May was "one of the great world leaders", adding that he had "incredible love and respect for her".

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