After Donald Trump used his Twitter account to call North Korea's Kim Jong-un "short and fat," White House Chief of Staff John Kelly claimed he doesn't keep up with the president's written missives. "Believe it or not, I do not follow the tweets," the retired general said.
Perhaps it's time Kelly starts following the tweets, because they exist, they're ridiculous, and the rest of the world is taking note.
President Trump shared videos supposedly portraying Muslims committing acts of violence on Twitter early Wednesday morning, images that are likely to fuel anti-Islam sentiments popular among the president's political base in the United States. [...]Mr. Trump retweeted the video posts from an ultranationalist British party leader, Jayda Fransen, who has previously been charged in the United Kingdom with "religious aggravated harassment," according to news reports. The videos were titled: "Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!" "Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!" and "Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!"It is unusual to see an American president push out this type of content on such a powerful social media platform.
Over the summer, Trump insisted, "When I make a statement, I like to be correct.... Before I make a statement, I need the facts." But before promoting anti-Muslim videos, Trump has no real interest in whether the unverified content is correct or not.
By all appearances, the president's point was to help spread bigotry. It's as simple as that.
It wasn't long before Trump's latest antics were noticed in the U.K. BuzzFeed reported, "Trump's decision to retweet a British far-right politician was almost immediately raised in the House of Commons. Labour MP Stephen Doughty called a point of order on the issue, which the Conservative home secretary declined to answer."
Another British lawmaker wrote, "Trump sharing Britain First. 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."
A Washington Post report added:
In June 2016, the Labour party parliament member Jo Cox was killed by an assailant alleged to have shouted "Britain first!" Leaders of the Britain First group said there were no ties between the attacker and their organization. The assailant, however, had links to neo-Nazi groups.On Wednesday, Cox's widower Brendan Cox tweeted: "Trump has legitimised the far right in his own country, now he's trying to do it in ours. Spreading hatred has consequences & the President should be ashamed of himself."
I desperately wish Trump were capable of shame.
Update: A spokesperson for British Prime Minister Theresa May said today that the American president "is wrong to have done this." It's part of a broader backlash against Trump from British officials.
Second Update: The White House isn't saying whether or not the videos Trump promoted are real, but went on to suggest their legitimacy shouldn't matter.