Updated at 8:19 a.m. | President Donald Trump continued his unconventional “tax week” messaging Wednesday morning by retweeting anti-Muslim social media posts by a far-right British political figure.
Hours before the president is slated to leave the White House for a major speech in Missouri promoting the Senate GOP tax bill — and likely targeting vulnerable Show Me State Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill over her opposition to it — the president shared a series of tweets from Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the Britain First movement.
Britain First is a far-right political group in the United Kingdom that broke off from the British National Party in 2011. It espouses ultranationalism, is openly militaristic and warns against the growing number of Muslims in the UK.
The first of Fransen’s tweets that Trump shared with his 42.3 million Twitter followers features a video with two teenage boys in a scuffle. Fransen gave it this title: “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”
The second post he retweeted shows a man with a traditional Muslim beard throwing down a statue of a Christian icon; it has this title written by Fransen: “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!”
The final video that Trump shared is of two groups atop a building, and one of the boys in it falls. Fransen wrote this: “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”
Trump’s 2016 campaign was tinged with what some Democratic lawmakers and political observers said was anti-Muslim rhetoric that continues to make him popular with the so-called alt-right. As president, Trump has dived into these waters before: He gave political cover to the white supremacist groups that planned the deadly protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the summer.
The president shared Fransen’s tweets without comment and without explaining the context of each video.
A day after the president’s tweets made a government shutdown more likely when he lashed out at Democratic leaders before their negotiations had even begun, his Wednesday morning retweets received immediate notice across the Atlantic Ocean.
Watch: What Winter Break? Trump Tweet Throws Shutdown Negotiations Into Chaos
Major British media outlets issued breaking news alerts when the U.S. president essentially endorsed the views of that country’s far-right.
The reaction on Twitter following the presidential retweets was swift, shocked and critical.
It isn’t surprising that Donald Trump, author of the Muslim Ban, spread propaganda from a person convicted of harassing Muslims.It is shocking and awful to see such Islamophobia from the president of a country which protects religious freedom and is home to millions of Muslims. https://t.co/7nZlPOQds7 — Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) November 29, 2017
This is really something. Trump spent part of his morning retweeting British far right anti-Muslim agitprop: pic.twitter.com/CzySGaizoY— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) November 29, 2017
This is the response to POTUS’ retweets from the widower of MP Jo Cox, her attacker shouted Britain First. https://t.co/KdCxNzPeW4— Caitriona Perry (@CaitrionaPerry) November 29, 2017
Trump has gone too far for even infowars https://t.co/76zE1ONwKj— Sam Stein (@samstein) November 29, 2017
POTUS is traveling to MO for a speech on tax reform. He just pushed that out of the headlines.— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) November 29, 2017
The President woke up this morning, shared three videos from an anti-Muslim hate account, then attacked two news organizations, including kicking NBC while we are down. Which one helps the country?— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) November 29, 2017
It’s bizarre that I still get surprised by 45’s Twitter antics but his RTs of a British neo-fascist are to my mind a new low— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) November 29, 2017
Uh the president just retweeted a dogwhistle fight video posted by deputy leader of Britain First… pic.twitter.com/OLvPzMt1sM— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) November 29, 2017