On Wednesday morning, President Donald Trump retweeted three misleading Islamophobic videos from a far-right extremist Twitter account early Wednesday morning.
Later in the day, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump’s decision to retweet the videos, saying that the truthfulness of the videos did not matter.
“I’m not talking about the nature of the video,” Sanders said to reporters at the White House. “I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing. The threat is real and that is what the president is talking about.”
Sanders said the videos — which in some cases do not even include Muslims — highlight the importance of Trump’s focus on securing the borders and national security, even if they don’t show what the captions claim.
“Those are very real things. There is nothing fake about that,” Sanders said.
Trump, who has made criticizing “fake news” a personal crusade, had retweeted the video clips from Jayda Fransen, whose far-right Britain First Party has a history of spreading fake or misleading media. Fransen herself has been arrested for hate speech and was found guilty of abusing a Muslim woman and her children. The videos claim to show Muslims committing violence towards western people, though reports have disproven this.
The videos had titles such as “Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!”, “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!” and “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!”
Just to be clear: Dutch press reports that perpetrator in video retweeted by @realDonaldTrump was neither muslim nor an immigrant. He was arrested for his crime. Moreover, the initial posting of the video did not mention religion. https://t.co/ku6tHeMviZ
— Erik Voeten (@ErikVoeten) November 29, 2017
Another video was confirmed to be from the Egyptian political coup in 2013, in which a teenage boy, believed to be a Muslim, was murdered by a mob.
Trump’s retweets were widely criticized in the U.S. and also in the UK, where British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the president.