Trump attacks Theresa May after she criticizes him for retweeting an anti-Muslim extremist

  • Trump launched an extraordinary attack on British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday night after she criticized his retweets of anti-Muslim videos.
  • The US president had shared videos from the extremist far-right group Britain First, to universal outrage.
  • "Don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom," Trump tweeted at Theresa May.

Donald Trump launched an extraordinary attack on British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday after she criticized him, further fueling the firestorm caused by his early-morning retweets of extremist anti-Muslim videos.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. president had retweeted inflammatory hate videos posted by a leader of Britain First, an ultra-nationalist far-right group that peddles anti-Muslim conspiracy theories. The videos, intending to depict Muslims in a bad light, were given clickbait titles. (The White House press secretary refused to acknowledge whether the videos were authentic.)

Following outrage across the political spectrum in Britain, a spokesperson for Theresa May condemned Trump's tweets on Wednesday in what was a rare criticism of an American president by a British prime minister.

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WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: British Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump walk along The Colonnade of the West Wing at The White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. British Prime Minister Theresa May is on a two-day visit to the United States and will be the first world leader to meet with President Donald Trump. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: British Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump walk along The Colonnade of the West Wing at The White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. British Prime Minister Theresa May is on a two-day visit to the United States and will be the first world leader to meet with President Donald Trump. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: British Prime Minister Theresa May with U.S. President Donald Trump walk along The Colonnade at The White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. British Prime Minister Theresa May is on a two-day visit to the United States and will be the first world leader to meet with President Donald Trump. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump escorts British Prime Minister Theresa May after their meeting at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
British Prime Minister Theresa May and U.S. President Donald Trump participate in a joint news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) participate in a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Prime Minister May is on a visit to the White House and had a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) participate in a joint press conference in the East Room of the White House January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Prime Minister May is on a visit to the White House and had a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and British Prime Minister Theresa May ,participate in a joint press conference at the East Room of the White House January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Prime Minister May is on a visit to the White House and had a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in the East Room of the White House January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Prime Minister May is on a visit to the White House and had a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: U.S. President Donald Trump (R) and British Prime Minister Theresa May ,participate in a joint press conference at the East Room of the White House January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. Prime Minister May is on a visit to the White House and had a bilateral meeting in the Oval Office with President Trump. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., January 27, 2017. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) and US President Donald Trump shake hands beside a bust of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the Oval Office of the White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: British Prime Minister Theresa May with U.S. President Donald Trump in The Oval Office at The White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. British Prime Minister Theresa May is on a two-day visit to the United States and will be the first world leader to meet with President Donald Trump. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
British Prime Minister Theresa May (L) and US President Donald speak in the Oval Office of the White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump listens while British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during a press conference at the White House January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 27: British Prime Minister Theresa May with U.S. President Donald Trump in The Oval Office at The White House on January 27, 2017 in Washington, DC. British Prime Minister Theresa May is on a two-day visit to the United States and will be the first world leader to meet with President Donald Trump. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Theresa May, U.K. prime minister, smiles during a joint news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017. The British prime minister is planning to pitch a free-trade deal to the new U.S. leader just as the reality of a new era of protection for American workers sinks in. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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"Britain First seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions," they said. "British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right which is the antithesis of the values this country represents, decency, tolerance and respect."

But rather than disavowing the far-right tweets, Trump fired back with an extraordinary attack on the British Prime Minister, tweeting: "Theresa @theresamay, don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!" 

(Trump's tweet linked to a different Twitter user, instead of May's actual handle: "@theresa_may." The tweet was later deleted. Nineteen minutes later, Trump tweeted again, this time with May's correct handle.)

Trump's retweeting of the Britain First leader was universally condemned by British leaders, including Sajid Javid, a cabinet minister with a Muslim heritage: "So POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organization that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called the tweets "abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society."

Donald Trump has attacked British political leaders over Islam before. In the aftermath of the London Bridge terror attack in June 2017, he called London mayor Sadiq Khan's response "pathetic." 

Khan has criticized Trump over anti-Muslim retweets, saying "Britain first is a vile, hate-fueled organization whose views should be condemned, not amplified."

Jayda Fransen, who posted the videos, has previously been found guilty of religiously aggravating harassment after shouting at a Muslim woman wearing a hijab, and has recently been charged with inciting religious hatred.

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SEE ALSO: Sarah Huckabee Sanders says it doesn't matter if the anti-Muslim videos Trump retweeted are real because 'the threat is real'

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