World

Trump sending anti-Muslim tweets was 'wrong thing to do,' British PM says

British Prime Minister Theresa May says U.S. President Donald Trump's retweets from a far-right group were "the wrong thing to do," calling the group, Britain First, "a hateful organization" that runs counter to "common British decency."

Theresa May says she's not afraid to criticize friends when they get things wrong

British Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to the media Thursday in Amman, Jordan. She had been under pressure to condemn Donald Trump directly over his retweets of British anti-Muslim videos. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

British Prime Minister Theresa May says U.S. President Donald Trump's retweets from a far-right group were "the wrong thing to do."

May says the group, Britain First, is "a hateful organization" that runs counter to "common British decency."

May has been under pressure to condemn Trump directly over the retweets of anti-Muslim videos. Her spokesman has already said the retweets were wrong.

Speaking in Amman, Jordan, May said Britain and the U.S. have a special relationship but she is not afraid to criticize friends when they get things wrong.

U.K. PM careful not to directly criticize U.S. president while addressing his re-tweet of online posts from British far-right group 1:40

Asked about a tweet by Trump urging her to focus on Islamic extremist violence rather than on him, May said Britain takes the danger of extremism very seriously.

The U.K.'s ambassador to the United States said Thursday he had complained to the White House about Trump's retweets.

Kim Darroch tweeted that "British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far right, which seek to divide communities & erode decency, tolerance & respect. British Muslims are peaceful and law abiding citizens."

He added that he, "raised these concerns with the White House yesterday."

Earlier, the mayor of London added his voice to calls for a planned state visit by Trump to Britain to be cancelled.

Sadiq Khan said Trump has promoted "a vile, extremist group" and an official visit by him to Britain "would not be welcomed." No date has been set for the visit. 

Trump's retweeting of the anti-Muslim videos initially posted by Britain First's deputy leader Jayda Fransen, has been widely condemned in Britain.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders again defended Trump's retweets during Thursday's press briefing. 

"I think the president feels that bringing up important issues of our time like extreme violence and terrorism are important to do. That's what he was doing in that process," she said. 

When asked if there was concern about the videos possibly containing violence against Muslims, Sanders said, "I think what he's done is elevate the conversation to talk about a real issue and threat and that's extreme violence and terrorism." 

Sanders also said Trump didn't know who Fransen was when he retweeted her. 

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