British Prime Minister Theresa May has blasted U.S. President Donald Trump for retweeting a series of anti-Muslim tweets from a far-right fringe group in the U.K. Several U.K. lawmakers have called for May to rescind Trump's invitation for a state visit, which her office has declined to do.
On Nov. 29, Trump retweeted three videos posted by Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen. The videos depicted violence and destruction of Christian iconography, with Fransen's captions alleging that the acts were committed by Muslims. She said that one video showing the beating of a physically disabled young man was committed by a Muslim migrant, which was debunked by the Netherlands.
"[Donald Trump] Facts do matter," the Netherlands Embassy tweeted out in response to the video. "The perpetrator of the violent act in this video was born and raised in the Netherlands. He received and completed his sentence under Dutch law."
Trump's decision to share Fransen's tweets among his millions of followers was met with widespread condemnation by the U.K. Parliament. May released a statement condemning the social media missives.
"Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions," May said, according to HuffPost. "They cause anxiety to law-abiding people."
May added: "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."
The prime minister's office stated: "It is wrong for the President to have done this."
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders dismissed May's criticisms of Trump's tweets, telling reporters: "Whether it is a real video, the threat is real."
"I think that both Theresa May and a lot of the other world leaders across the world know that these are real threats that we have to talk about, I think Europe has seen that a lot first hand," Sanders told CNN.
Britain First is a far-right group dedicated to ending Muslim immigration in the U.K. The organization is notorious in Europe for entering predominantly Muslim neighborhoods and provoking residents in the hopes of filming aggressive reactions. In November 2016, Fransen was convicted of verbally harassing a Muslim woman.
Nick Ryan, a spokesperson for the anti-extremist organization Hope Not Hate, said that Britain First was among the most widely condemned groups in Britain.
"A politician would have to be blind not to understand that this is a particularly nasty far-right organization that is in trouble with the law, electoral authorities, and reviled by 99 percent of the population," Ryan told The Washington Post. "It beggars belief that Trump would knowingly share this stuff."
Labour MP David Lammy took to social media to blast Trump for sharing Fransen's posts.
"The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted," Lammy tweeted out. "He is no ally or friend of ours. [Trump] you are not welcome in my country and my city."
British news anchor Piers Morgan, who had been a vocal supporter of Trump throughout his administration, also voiced outrage.
"You just gave the presidential seal of approval to loathsome Muslim-hating fascist criminals, Mr Trump," Morgan tweeted out. "What the HELL were you thinking?"
Trump's tweets prompted several MPs to urge May to cancel Trump's longstanding invitation to visit the U.K. A spokesperson for the prime minister said that Trump was still welcome.
"The United States is one of our oldest and closest allies," the spokesperson said. "An invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted."
Sources: CNN, David Lammy/Twitter, HuffPost, Netherlands Embassy/Twitter, Piers Morgan/Twitter, The Washington Post / Featured Image: EU2017EE Estonian Presidency/Flickr / Embedded Images: The White House/Flickr, Policy Exchange/Flickr