While US presidents traditionally pick up the telephone or make subtle diplomatic overtures to express their feelings to world leaders, Trump used his preferred social media outlet to reach the prime minister, continuing a public clash that had begun earlier in the day after he retweeted three inflammatory videos from a British far-right account rife with anti-Muslim content.
The videos, posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right and ultra-nationalist political group, depict purported Muslims assaulting people and, in one video, smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.
The retweets were immediately met with outrage in the United Kingdom and resulted in a rare rebuke from the British government of its American ally.
Trump’s retweets were leading several major British news websites Wednesday morning, and officials condemned him on Twitter. May’s spokesperson said Trump had been “wrong” to share the videos, adding that “Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions.”
“British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents — decency, tolerance, and respect,” added the spokesperson, who also said Trump’s 2018 state visit remains on for now.
May, meanwhile, spent her Wednesday marking a milestone as she became the first major foreign leader to visit Iraq since the city of Mosul was reclaimed from the Islamic State over the summer, visiting with British, coalition and Iraqi troops, according to a tweet from her office.