President Trump decies any critical reporting of him as “Fake News.” But on Wednesday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the president’s decision to retweet three inflammatory videos about Muslims in the UK — whether or not they are even real.
On Wednesday morning, Trump retweeted three anti-Muslim videos first posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First. The videos purportedly show Muslims beating up a Dutch boy on crutches, destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary, and throwing a teenage boy off a roof, respectively.
But according to numerous reports, the “Muslim migrant” assailant shown beating the Dutch boy in the first video is in fact neither a migrant or a Muslim. Meanwhile, the video showing a Muslim destroying the Virgin Mary statute is three years old and reportedly features an anti-Assad cleric that’s part of a group that has been supported by the United States. And the third video of the boy being beaten to death was reportedly filmed in Egypt in 2013.
Trump’s retweets were widely decried. But later Wednesday morning, Sanders told reporters that it doesn’t matter if the videos Trump shared are misleading, because the threat posed by Muslims is “real.”
“Look, I’m not talking about the nature of the video. I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing,” Sanders said. “The threat is real, and that’s what the president is talking about is the need for national security, the need for military spending, and those are very real things, there’s nothing fake about them.”
Trump’s decision to retweet Islamophobic videos was criticized by British Prime Minister Theresa May. “British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudice of the far-right, which it is the antithesis of the values that this country represents: decency tolerance and respect. It is wrong for the President to have done this,” a spokesman for May said.
But perhaps more significantly, Trump’s amplification of misleading videos originally posted by an extremist organization headed by a woman who was convicted earlier this month of religiously aggravated harassment was too divisive even for Paul Joseph Watson of the conspiracy site Infowars.
Trump’s Britain First retweets come days after the president attacked CNN, saying the network’s international division “represent our Nation to the WORLD very poorly,” and recommended people instead check out MagaPill.com. As ThinkProgress detailed, MagaPill.com regularly traffics in unhinged conspiracy theories like Pizzagate and recently suggested that the October mass shooting in Las Vegas was a false flag.