On Wednesday the 29th of November, the President of the United States Donald Trump retweeted a series of anti-Muslim videos, posted by the deputy leader of the far-right group Britain First, Jayda Fransen. Frasen is currently facing charges for causing religiously aggravated harassment.
Britain First is an Islamophobic group, founded in 2011, by former members of the British National Party (BNP). Regrettably the group has a large presence on social media, despite having made little impact politically, they still regularly uses social media to disseminate anti-Islamic material. Viewers of their content are under no illusion as to the groups and Fransens’s extreme far-right Islamophobic views, as she does little to disguise these.
Before murdering Jo Cox in 2016, extreme right-wing terrorist Tommy Mair shouted “Britain First”. Therefore the President of the United States of America allowing far-right groups a platform to impart their views is a dangerous tactic that normalises far-right extremist views.
Many have called for Trumps’ invitation for a state visit to be withdrawn. Owen Jones, Guardian Columnist, posted on Twitter:
— Owen Jones? (@OwenJones84) November 29, 2017
The reaction of many, has rightly been, sheer outrage, with many turning to twitter to share their indignation at this despicable act. In doing this, Trump successfully normalises hatred, and threatens to legitimise his own hateful values in the UK. Brendan Cox, argued in a piece for The Guardian, that Trump’s strategy is to ‘..legitimise those driven by hatred. It makes them think that their views are mainstream,…and makes those already driven by hatred more likely to act on it.’
In the early hours of Thursday, in a public outburst, Trump tweeted May:
.@Theresa_May, don’t focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 30, 2017
This again, fuelled many to take to twitter to condemn Trump’s actions. It has been suggested that given the number of mass shootings that take place on a daily basis in the US that Trump should perhaps concentrate on his own domestic affairs.
Another disturbing impact of Trumps’ retweets is the increased following of Fransen on twitter, according to data shared by, Hope Not Hate, who have been monitoring the following of far-right groups, say that her following has exploded on social media, in March she had 13 000 followers, by November this has reached 54 000, and today it has reach in excess of 80 000. This is truly worrying.
May has responded stating that “retweeting Britain First was the wrong thing to do”. It looks likely that Trump’s state visit will be postponed again over fears of mass, widespread protest. Amber Rudd, Home Secretary, has told MPs to “look at the bigger picture” regarding the relationship between the UK and US, and the potential impacts of a breakdown of that relationship.
Many Labour MPs have disputed this with Labour MP Paul Flynn said Trump should be “charged with inciting racial hatred” if he came to the UK.
Trump’s retweeting of Britain First’s inflammatory tweets brings a vast threat to society and furthers his agenda to create rhetoric of hate and a divided society. As a country we must unite and stand up against such unjust and abhorrent behaviour.