As discussed yesterday, President Donald Trump’s decision to unleash a series of “truculent tweets” showing videos of Islamist mobs destroying Christian artifacts and, in one video, pushing a boy off a building has elicited howls of outrage from both American lawmakers and liberal leaders across the “open” west.
Amid the growing global outrage, no world leader responded more stridently than UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who successfully pressured US diplomats to drop plans for Donald Trump to conduct a visit to Britain in January amid a war of words between the two countries’ leaders. May emphatically criticized Trump for tweeting the videos, saying “I think we must all take seriously the threat that the far-right poses.”
Trump had been scheduled for a ‘working visit’ in the first month of 2018 to formally open America’s new London embassy, according to the Telegraph.
The trip, a scaled down version of a state visit with no meeting with the Queen, was organized to allow Trump to visit the UK without triggering the outpouring of protests that would accompany an official state visit.
According to the Telegraph, rather than being cancelled, Trump’s brief working visit has been “pushed into the long grass.” Meanwhile, no new data have been released.
A senior US diplomat appeared to confirm this: “The idea of a visit has obviously been floated, but not December and not January. I would not expect a Trump visit in January.”
Amber Rudd, the Home Secretary, hinted the trip could be delayed, telling MPs on Thursday morning that “we have yet to make the arrangements” and “dates have not yet been agreed.”
During her first public comments about the tweets, May rebuked Trump, saying he was “wrong” to share the videos and insisting her cabinet ministers would never do the same. Doing nothing to disguise her frustration, May denounced Britain First as a “hateful organization” that “seeks to spread mistrust and division within our communities.” Of course, Trump quickly responded that May should focus on fighting “Radical Islamic Terror.”
.@Theresa_May, 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
Sir Kim Darroch, the British ambassador in Washington, formally complained to the White House about Trump’s behavior.
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. And I raised these concerns with the White House yesterday.
— Kim Darroch (@KimDarroch) November 30, 2017
One Labour MP, Chris Byrant, went so far as suggesting that the US President should face arrest if he came to the UK. “The Prime Minister should make it absolutely clear that if Donald Trump comes to this country, he’ll be arrested for inciting religious hatred and therefore he’d be better off not coming at all.”
When asked whether Trump was legitimizing far-right groups, May said: “I think that we must all take seriously the threat that far-Right groups pose, both in terms of the terrorist threat that is posed by those groups and the necessity of dealing with extremist material which is far-Right as well. “I have commented in the past on issues in the United States on this matter. In the United Kingdom we take the far-Right very seriously and that is why we ensure that we deal with these threats and this extremism wherever it comes and whatever its source.”
She added that she would not hesitate to rebuke America when she feels Trump has got something wrong, despite the special relationship between the two countries. “The fact that we work together does not mean that we are afraid to say when we think the United States have got it wrong and be very clear with them,” she said.
Meanwhile London Mayor Sadiq Khan, the London Mayor, said Trump would not be welcome in the capital.
“As the mayor of this great diverse city, I have previously called on Theresa May to cancel her ill-judged offer of a state visit to President Trump… After this latest incident, it is increasingly clear that any official visit at all from President Trump to Britain would not be welcomed.”
Britain First has boasted of gaining hundreds of new membership applications thanks to Trump’s retweets.
President Trump has used Twitter to promote a vile, extremist group that exists solely to sow division and hatred in our country. It’s increasingly clear that any official visit from President Trump to Britain would not be welcomed. https://t.co/rwJJ5saSAb pic.twitter.com/bus3kMWIfk
— Mayor of London (@MayorofLondon) November 30, 2017
The group’s leader Paul Golding, who is facing charges of religiously aggravated harassment alongside Fransen, also said the group’s Facebook posts were reaching hundreds of thousands more users.
“We have had hundreds of new membership applications and our organic Facebook reach (number of unique users) has increased by hundreds of thousands,” Golding said.
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