The threat is real - so what if the video is FAKE? White House's extraordinary defense of Trump's anti-Muslim tweets as police say at least one is false
- On Wednesday morning President Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos posted by far-right Britain First leader Jayda Fransen?
- Fransen has a criminal record in the U.K. for the harassment of Muslims, including a charge of 'religiously aggravated harassment'?
- The videos shows 'Muslims' committing various crimes, including breaking a statue of Virgin Mary and throwing a teenager off a roof?
- The incidents in the videos have not been verified, though Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that doesn't really matter?
- 'Whether it is a real video, the threat is real,' the White House press secretary told reporters outside the West Wing ??
- The postings have drawn widespread condemnation in the United Kingdom, with even British Prime Minister Theresa May chiming in?
- In the United States, a number of media figures have come forward to scold President Trump, though lawmakers have been slow to respond ?
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders shrugged off suggestions that anti-Muslim videos President Trump spread online Wednesday morning might be fake?– because the 'threat' is real.?
'Whether it is a real video, the threat is real,' President Trump's top spokesperson told journalists outside the West Wing, according to CNN. 'That is what the president is talking about, that is what the president is focused on dealing with, those real threats and those are real no matter how you look at it.'?
President Trump retweeted three videos that purportedly showed 'Muslims' doing bad deeds, which were initially posted by far-right British nationalist Jayda Fransen, who has been convicted of hate crimes.?
None of the videos posted by Fransen – who is the deputy leader of Britain First, a group that stands against the?Islamisation of the United Kingdom?– have been verified, with police saying that a 'Muslim migrant' portrayed in one, is a Dutch citizen.?
Trump's postings have caused outrage in the United Kingdom, as a number of members of parliament have said they want to see his invitation to visit the country next year rescinded.?However, British Prime Minister Theresa May has said the visit will go on. ?
In the United States, media figures have condemned Trump's actions louder than American lawmakers.??
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President Trump retweeted three videos posted by a far-right British leader, known for her rabid Islamophobia?
The first video President Trump posted depicted 'Muslim migrant' according to Jayda Fransen, beating up a 'Dutch boy on crutches.' Dutch authorities have told MailOnline the 'migrant' is a Dutch national
The second video shows a 'Muslim man' speaking to the camera and then bashing a statue of Virgin Mary on the ground, shattering her?
The third video President Trump retweeted shows an 'Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!'?
The videos were posted by?Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right group that stands against the Islamisation of the United Kingdom?
Huckabee Sanders said the president retweeted the three videos to start a conversation on 'border security' and 'immigration.' ?
The first video purportedly shows a 'Muslim migrant' beating up a Dutch boy on crutches.?A spokesman for the Monnickendam Police, where the incident took place, told MailOnline: 'The boy in the video attacking a boy on crutches is a Dutch national.'?
After that, Trump retweets a video of a Muslim man 'destroy[ing] a statue of Virgin Mary.'?
And finally, the American president retweeted a video Fransen posted where she wrote, 'Islamist mob pushed teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!'?
The third video depicted a gristly scene from the 2013 Egyptian coup as the teenage victims were celebrating Islamist president Mohamed Morsi being deposed by the country's army.?
One of the perpetrators of the crime, which took place in Alexandria, was carrying an Al Qaeda flag.?
How Fransen's tweets got on Trump's radar is still somewhat of a mystery.?
'I haven’t talked to him about that,' answered White House principle deputy press secretary Raj Shah when asked about the tweets' source aboard Air Force One. 'Look, we are not going to be focusing on process. I know you guys want to. We are going to be focusing on the issues.'?
Shah pivoted and said the president was talking about 'safety and security' along with 'extreme vetting' when asked by Trump had retweeted content from a far-right leader.??
Last year, Fransen was found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment after accosting a Muslim woman.?
The charge stemmed from a January 2016 incident in which Fransen, wearing a political uniform and during a so-called 'Christian patrol,' accosted a Muslim woman named Sumayyah Sharpe in Luton, England.?
Fransen admitted that she told Sharpe, who was wearing a hijab, that Muslim men force women to cover up to avoid rape 'because they cannot control their sexual urges.'?
'That's why they are coming into my country raping women across the continent,' Fransen told Sharpe, according to the Independent.?
Sharpe was in front of her four children at the time.?
Last week, Fransen was also charged with using 'threatening, abusive or insulting words or behavior' for a speech she made at a 'Northern Ireland Against Terrorism' event in August at Belfast City Hall, according to HuffPost.???
Fransen's Twitter account sent out a gleeful message after the president retweeted her videos.?
'THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, DONALD TRUMP, HAS RETWEETED THREE OF DEPUTY LEADER JAYDA FRANSEN'S TWITTER VIDEOS! DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS RETWEETED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS!' the tweet said. 'GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP!'
For his part, Trump has been blasted for rhetoric considered anti-Muslim.?
In December 2015, on the heels of the San Bernardino terror attack, the GOP candidate called for an all-out ban of Muslims from entering the United States.??
'Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what is going on,' Trump put out in a press release that he also read aloud at a campaign event.?
Once in office, Trump's Muslim ban evolved into a travel ban from a selection of Muslim-majority countries, though has had trouble in the courts.
As Trump's tweets began to reverberate around the internet, those in American government, politics and media began to chime in.?
Former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke praised Trump for his Islamophobic messaging. ?
'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,' Duke tweeted. 'Thank God for Trump! That's why we love him!' ?
Duke's retort stood out, as his accolades put him in the extreme minority. ?
Council on American-Islamic Relations head Nihad Awad tweeted Wednesday: 'Have you no sense of decency, Sir? Do you know how many anti-Muslims incidents in the U.S. were recorded at #CAIR this year alone? 3,296.'?
'And we haven't heard a peep from you,' Awad continued. 'Some president.' ?
In a longer statement, Awad added that Trump was telling members of his base 'that they should hate Islam and Muslims.'?
'These are actions one would expect to see on virulent anti-Muslim hate sites, not on the Twitter feed of the president of the United States,' Awad said. 'Trump’s posts amount to incitement to violence against American Muslims.'?
'His actions should be condemned by all American political and religious leaders, regardless of their party or faith,' he added.??
Asked about it on CNN, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper called the retweets 'bizarre and disturbing.'
'And particularly when I think of him doing that in the context of North Korea, where moderation and temperance and thought, I think, is critical,' Clapper said.?
'I have no idea of explaining what, on earth, motivated it,' the ex-DNI chief added, though warned it could rattle relations with American allies around the world.?
Former Obama adviser David Axelrod also whacked Trump on Twitter.?
'The @POTUS?this morning retweeted unverified, inflammatory anti-videos posted by a neo-fascist party in Britain. The President of the United States! Think about that,' Axelrod wrote.?
Congressional responses, however, were slow to trickle in. ?
Rep. Don Beyer, a Democrat from Virginia, was one of the first lawmakers to respond to Trump's retweets on Twitter Wednesday morning.?
'It isn’t surprising that Donald Trump, author of the Muslim Ban, spread propaganda from a person convicted of harassing Muslims,' Beyer wrote.?
'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,' the Democratic congressman added.?
He was soon joined by Rep. Jim Himes, a Democrat from Connecticut. ?
'There are more than 3 million Muslim Americans,' Himes wrote. '[President Trump's] disgusting and dangerous retweets this morning show how important it is that we defend not only our democracy, but basic human decency from this man.'?
Sen. Jeff Flake, the Arizona Republican who is leaving office at the end of his term in part so he can become a thorn in Trump's side, called the postings 'very inappropriate.'?
Flake added that he was 'flummoxed.' ??
American media figures were more quick to condemn the president's move. ???
'Trump has railed against "illegals," African American athletes, used slur Pocahontas and shared anti-Muslim?videos this week. It's Wednesday,' tweeted CNN Senior White House Correspondent Jim Acosta.
On Monday, Trump used his derogatory nickname for Sen. Elizabeth Warren, 'Pocahontas,' at an event where he was supposed to be honoring Navajo code talkers, who saved countless Americans during World War II.?
Needless to say, the missive wasn't well received in the room. ??
'Jayda Fransen is a wretched human being and no matter what expectations one has for him, it's revolting and actually shocking that Trump is re-tweeting multiple hate-mongering videos from her of random Muslims doing bad things,' wrote The Intercept's Glenn Greenwald.?
In the United Kingdom, officials are facing pressure to cancel Trump's state visit in the aftermath of his trio of retweets.
The widower of murdered politician Jo Cox, who was shot and stabbed by a man yelling, 'Britain First,' strongly condemned Trump's actions.??
'Trump has legitimized the far right in his own country, now he's trying to do it in ours,' said Brendan Cox on Wednesday. 'Spreading hatred has consequences and the president should be ashamed of himself.'?
The Labour Party's Mary Creagh, a member of parliament, tweeted, 'He is not welcome here,' after reminding people what Cox's killer had said.?
She was joined by Chuka Umunna, another parliament member from the Labour Party, who told Sky News, 'I don't think the president of the United States, a president who has not only promoted bigotry, misogyny and racism in his own country, I don't think he is welcome here.' ?
'I think the invite that has been made to him to come to our country in early 2018 should be withdrawn,' Umunna continued. 'What we see here is a president retweeting and promoting the propaganda of a far right racist bigoted group, members of which have been arrested and convicted for promoting hatred in this country.'?
'I am absolutely?astounded that a man – any person – in his position holding the office that he does should be promoting the propaganda of a far right British group,' Umunna added.?
London Mayor Sadiq Khan – the city's first Muslim mayor – who has tussled with Trump over the president's so-called travel ban, said, 'Britain First is a vile, hate-fueled organization whose views should be condemned, not amplified.'?
British Prime Minister Theresa May frowned at Trump's actions, however did not rescind an invitation to spend time in the United Kingdom next year. ?
'It is wrong for the president to have done this,' a spokesman for Downing Street said.?
When asked about Trump's future travel plans to the U.K., the spokesman said, 'The United States is one of our oldest and closest allies. An invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted. Further details will be announced in due course.'???
Far-right leader Jayda Fransen DELIGHTED Trump retweeted her?
?Donald Trump today shared three videos posted by the deputy leader of far-right group Britain First in another anti-Muslim tirade.
Jayda Fransen, whose Twitter feed is littered with videos and pictures condemning Islam, is sitting on a charge of using threatening and abusive language at a rally in Belfast.
She is also expected to appear on religiously aggravated harassment charges next month.
Fransen is renowned for peddling her party's anti-Muslim agenda, and she was clearly delighted Trump decided to share her views.
Using capital letters, and talking about herself in the third person, she tweeted: 'The President of the United States Donald Trump has retweeted three of deputy leader Jayda Fransen's Twitter videos.
'Donald Trump himself has retweeted these videos and has around 44million followers.
'God bless you, Trump. God bless America. OCS.'
OCS is an acronym used by the party which stands for Onwards Christian Soldiers.
Fransen, formerly of the English Defence League, regularly marches through cities and towns in the UK holding Christian crosses aloft, which provokes angry reactions from Muslim members of the community.
During one of Britain First's so-called Christian Patrols in Luton back in November 2016, Fransen was convicted of religiously aggravated harassment after she harassed a Muslim mother-of-four because she was wearing a hijab.
She was fined almost ￡2,000 as the court heard she told a mother-of-four that Muslim men force women to cover up to avoid being raped 'because they cannot control their sexual urges', adding 'that's why they are coming into my country raping women across the continent'.
Fransen denied all charges, accusing the courts of being 'absurd', and engaging in 'a really clear display of Islamic appeasement'.
'The reason I said them was because from everything I have studied, I understand them to be true,' Fransen said in her defense.
She is deputy to Paul Golding, who was spared jail earlier this month after being found guilty of assault.
He is also facing three charges of religiously aggravated harassment in relation to the trial of a gang of men who raped a teenager above a Ramsgate takeaway.
Golding is set for a three day trial next month, alongside Fransen.
Jayda Fransen was born in London in 1986 and claims to have practised and studied law for many years before founding a recruitment consultancy.
In 2014, she was elected deputy leader of Britain First and two years later she took temporary control over the party when Golding was sentenced to eight weeks in prison for breaching a court order banning him from entering a mosque or encouraging others to do so in England and Wales.?
The party's mission statement is issued on its website, and it reads: 'Britain First is a patriotic political party and street movement that opposes and fights the many injustices that are routinely inflicted on the British people.
'Our policies are pro-British, our approach is no-nonsense and our principles are not open to compromise.
'We love our people, our nation, our heritage and culture and will defend them at all times and no matter what odds we face.
'The Britain First movement is not just a normal political group, we are a patriotic resistance and 'frontline' for our long suffering people.'
Fransen, 31, from Penge, south east London, is facing the court action in Northern Ireland over a speech she made at an anti-terrorism demonstration in the city on August 6.
She was arrested by Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers on Saturday in Bromley, south east London and taken to Belfast for questioning.
She has been bailed to appear at Belfast Magistrates' Court on December 14.
Describing her arrest, she said: 'I was escorted in a police van with four officers up to Liverpool to catch a ferry. Bearing in mind, I was arrested at quarter to four, our ferry was 10.30 at night and it arrived here in Belfast at 6.30 this morning so it's been quite a jaunt.'
She said police questioned her for around three to four hours, accusing her of being 'anti-Islamic', and released her after she was charged.
'This all relates to a speech that I gave at an event over here where I was invited as a guest speaker, the Northern Ireland Against Terrorism on the 6 August,' she added.
Britain First leader Paul Golding broke the news to his supporters in a Twitter video on Saturday.
He said: 'A large group of plain clothes police detectives from Belfast of all places jumped out of nowhere and have arrested Jayda.
'What have they arrested her for? Both of us addressed, made a speech, at a public demonstration outside Belfast City Hall all the way back in August.
'The detective I spoke to told me she is being flown to Belfast tonight to be interrogated.
'It's absolutely ridiculous - this is non-stop with me and Jayda, non-bloody stop.'
He said his colleague had been arrested for 'no bloody reason'.
Ms Fransen and Mr Golding were in Belfast on August 6 for a demonstration by around 50 people calling themselves Northern Ireland Against Terrorism, which took place on the same day as a republican march organised by the Anti-Internment League to mark the use of detention without trial by the British Army during the height of the Troubles in 1971.
Trump shared three videos posted by Fransen.
The first was a clip supposedly showing a Muslim migrant beating up a Dutch boy on crutches.
Seconds later, retweeted a video showing what she claims to be a Muslim man destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary.
And the third video posted in quick succession to his 43.6million followers was by far the most disturbing - a video showing an alleged Islamic group throwing a teenager off a roof before beating him to death.
Trump then posted his own tweets, first accusing CNN of fake news, then congratulating his own policies and their impact on the stock market.
The issue was raised in the House of Commons this afternoon by Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee Yvette Cooper MP.
Talking to the Speaker of the House John Bercow, she said: 'I understand the woman in question has already been convicted of hate crime in thsi coutnry.
'And on that basis, given the significance and the seriousness of having the President of the United States of America giving her such a huge platform, does he not think it would be approptiate for us to hear some word of condemnation from the Home Secretary or the Foreign Secretary?'
There was no response from the Cabinet.
Labour MP for Tottenham also weighed in on the debate, saying: 'Let that sink in.
'The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted.
'He is no ally or friend of ours. Donald Trump, you are not welcome in my country and my city.'
He also raised the issue that Thomas Mair shouted 'Britain First' before murdering his colleague Jo Cox on the eve of the Brexit vote.
'Do not forget that the man who murdered Jo Cox shouted "Britain First",' he said.
'Trump has gone beyond the pale today.'
Mrs Cox's widower Brendan Cox said: 'Trump has legitimised the far right in his own country, now he's trying to do it in ours.
'Spreading hatred has consequences and the President should be ashamed of himself.'
Britain First previously any denied involvement in the attack on Mrs Cox, and there is no suggestion that Mair was influenced by or in any way involved with the group.?
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