White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said today that she did not believe Trump knew the anti-Muslim videos he retweeted this week were from Jayda Fransen, an official with a far-right extremist group who had been convicted of a hate crime. But, Sanders added, he retweeted the videos – titled “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches” [Dutch authorities say both boys are Dutch citizens and neither is Muslim], “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary,” and “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death” – to “elevate the conversation.”
“I think what he’s done is elevate the conversation, to talk about a real issue and a real threat, that is extreme violence and extreme terrorism,” Sanders said. She called it “something we know to be very real and something the president feels strongly about talking about, and bringing up, and making sure it’s an issue every single day.”
Sanders also got asked about Trump’s tweet saying NBC should terminate MSNBC’s Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough because of an “unsolved mystery” involving the death of a staffer in 2001 when he was a congressman repping Florida. “Does he think Scarborough is responsible,” a reporter asked of the death of the intern. A local medical examiner at the time determined that the intern had collapsed of an undiagnosed heart condition and hit her head on the side of a desk, causing a fatal blood clot.
“I don’t have anything to add on that front, beyond the tweet,” Sanders dodged.