The White House is defending President Donald Trump’s decision to retweet videos tweeted out by a British nationalist, which depicted alleged Muslim violence, saying that even if the videos aren’t real, “the threat is real.”
President Trump retweeted two videos depicting Muslims allegedly attacking individuals and one video allegedly showing Muslims smashing a Virgin Mary statue. The videos were originally tweeted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a British nationalist group, whose mission is to see “our people to come first, before foreigners, asylum seekers or migrants and we are overtly proud of this stance.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president’s retweets on Wednesday.
“Whether it is a real video, the threat is real,” Sanders said while talking to a small group of reporters. “That is what the President is talking about, that is what the President is focused on is dealing with those real threats, and those are real no matter how you look at it.”
“I’m not talking about the nature of the video,” she said, according to The Hill. “I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing. The threat is real, and that is what the president is talking about.”
“I think his goal is to promote strong borders and strong national security,” Sanders added.
Sanders also said that she doesn’t know how the videos ended up in front of the president.
The United States’ 45th president has been roundly condemned for retweeting the videos. Even British Prime Minister Theresa May’s office weighed in on Trump’s decision.
“Britain first seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people,” May’s spokesperson said.
“British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudice of the far-right, which it is the antithesis of the values that this country represents: decency tolerance and respect. It is wrong for the President to have done this.”
Arab American Institute Executive Director Maya Berry said in a statement that Trump’s “words and beliefs normalize and lend credence to hate, putting Americans at risk of violence on a daily basis.”
The American Civil Liberties Union, in a tweet, said, “Trump’s prejudice against Muslims reveals itself at every turn_with today’s tweets meant to gin up fear and bias, with statements like ‘Islam hates us,’ and with every version of the Muslim ban.”
One person who was happy about the president’s retweets was former Klu Klux Klan leader David Duke.
Duke welcomed the videos, tweeting: “Trump retweets video of crippled white kid in Europe being beaten by migrants, and white people being thrown off a roof and then beaten to death, He’s condemned for showing us what the fake news media WON’T. Thank God for Trump! That’s why we love him!”
The Associated Press contributed to this report