UPDATE: British Prime Minister Theresa May has doubled down on her condemnation of President Donald Trump’s retweeting of far-right extremist groups in the UK, but has said that the two countries’ “special relationship” should continue in spite of this latest tweet storm.
Speaking at the Jordan Museum in Amman, she said, “The fact that we work together [with the U.S] does not mean that we’re afraid to say when we think the U.S. has got it wrong and I’m very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do. Let me be clear about the relationship between the U.S. and UK; this is a long-term special relationship that is there because it’s in both our national interests. That relationship should continue.”
May reiterated that Britain First was a “hateful organization” but the invitation for Trump to visit the UK will not be withdrawn, although the two parties have not yet set a date.
She added, “I’m not a prolific Tweeter myself so I don’t spend all my time looking at Twitter but when I feel there should be a response, I give it and I have given it to President Trump’s tweet.”
PREVIOUS: 4:54 AM PT: In the wake of Donald Trump’s Wednesday morning retweets of anti-Muslim messages, put out by the UK’s far-right Britain First party — and Trump’s rebuke of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s response — Parliament debated the situation this morning during an Urgent Questions session.
At the same time, London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has clashed with POTUS in the past, said he has called on May “to cancel her ill-judged offer of a state visit” and added, “It is increasingly clear that any official visit at all from President Trump to Britain would not be welcomed.” (See his full statement below).
The House of Commons this morning debated the exchanges from yesterday, with a strong turnout by front-benchers. Home Secretary Amber Rudd said Trump was “wrong” to retweet the videos posted by Britain First which were initially tweeted by a woman convicted of a hate crime, but she also noted the value of the U.S.-UK relationship and that its importance is the bigger picture.
Said Rudd, Trump “is the American president and we have such admiration for the American people, we share values with them and we are so grateful for their security services and intelligence with whom we work so closely. They help save British lives and that’s why we have such a special relationship with the Americans.”
Labour MP Stephen Doughty responded that Trump was spreading the tweets of a convicted criminal and that by doing so is “either a racist, or incompetent, or unthinking, or all three”.
Labour’s Dennis Skinner also suggested the government should cancel a state visit. Rudd said the invitation has been accepted but that arrangements have yet to be worked out. This led some pundits to wonder if that’s a hint it’s being postponed.
Here’s Sadiq Khan’s tweet from this morning: