The US president is once again using Twitter to weigh in on contentious issues in the UK. Why?
Donald Trump is once again using Twitter to weigh in on contentious religious-tinged political issues in the UK.
In the past, he’s attacked London’s mayor for mishandling a militant attack just hours after it occurred.
“Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his ‘no reason to be alarmed’ statement,” he tweeted after the 5 June London Bridge attack.
He misattributed a rise in crime in England and Wales to the “spread of radical Islamic terror”.
“Not good, we must keep America safe!” he wrote.
Now, he has retweeted a series of unverified videos posted by a far-right British nationalist group.
For the president, directing attention toward the UK seems to serve a domestic political purpose – the “keep America safe” line from his English crime tweet is telling.
He cites events and opinions there as a warning to Americans of what could happen in the US if they do not heed his policy prescriptions on immigration and border security.
The Muslim ban, the US-Mexico wall, increased deportations, the sharp reductions on refugee resettlement – it’s all part of the president’s “national security” package.
It’s what Mr Trump campaigned on, and the aggressiveness of his rhetoric was one of the ways he differentiated himself from his opponents.
The president’s base firmly believes that conditions in the UK, and throughout Europe, are deteriorating in large part due to their immigration policies, and have stuck with Mr Trump through the bumps in his presidential campaign and a tumultuous first year as president in part because of his convictions on the matter.
When pressed by reporters outside the White House, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders reinforced this point, downplaying concern about the authenticity of the videos.
“Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real and that is what the president is talking about that is what the president is focused on is dealing with those real threats ,” she said.
While most Americans probably haven’t heard of the Britain First group that originally posted the videos, and are unfamiliar with European radical nationalist movements, there are white supremacist groups in the US that follow the actions of these overseas operations quite closely.