US president Donald Trump is no stranger to controversy, especially on social media platforms where he has in many people’s minds set a new low for presidential behaviour.
Recently he has been criticised for using his Twitter account to share videos made by a far right, anti-Muslim leader. The British based videos purported to show violence committed by Muslims but have not been verified as authentic.
In one video a group of Muslims allegedly pushes a boy off a roof, another claims to depict a Muslim assaulting a crippled Dutch boy. The video featuring the Dutch boy was immediately debunked by the US Dutch embassy which reported the perpetrator was born and raised in the Netherlands.
The maker of the videos, Jayda Fransen , a leader of the group Britain First, has been convicted of hate crimes in the United Kingdom. One of the group’s followers was convicted of murdering a member of the British parliament in 2016.
The head of the Church of England and the British Prime Minister Theresa May were both quick to condemn Trump’s actions. They asserted that Britain was a country that looked down on hateful rhetoric and was an inclusive, multicultural society.
Trump has since responded to the British prime ministers’ criticism, pointing out that Islamic terrorism was a bigger threat in the United Kingdom and that their priorities were misaligned.
Prime Minister May was the first international leader to visit Trump after his inauguration and was considered, at least superficially, on good terms with him. This relationship may now be jeopardised since Trump’s candid response.
Despite Prime Minister May’s criticisms, her office has not withdrawn an invitation to Trump to make a state visit.
White House officials defended Trump’s actions, stating that he was simply highlighting national security issues. The White House press secretary stated that while the videos may not be authentic the threat to national security was.
This news comes days after Trump was condemned for referring to the Democratic representative of Massachusetts, Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas”. This occurred at an event honouring Native American veterans of WW2 and was interpreted as a racial slur.
Trump’s supporters have not become disillusioned with their president after a multitude of scandals implicating him. They are quick to say that Trump is at his best when tangling with what they view as a hypocritical news media.
Trump’s detractors have taken the opportunity to renew calls for his impeachment, stating that these most recent actions further prove that he is unfit for office.