Since Wednesday afternoon, David Dunn and Scott Lucas of the University of Birmingham have been working with media outlets to explain the significance of Donald Trump’s Twitter embrace of Islamophobia, retweeting distorted videos spread by the far-right Britain First.
Discussions include “Is Donald Trump a racist?”, an assessment of whether there is any strategy behind his Twitter behavior (No.), and an evaluation of possible damage to the US-UK relationship.
An hour after Trump retweeted the videos, I spoke with Aine Lawlor:
I’m not sure how low the President can go, but what he did isn’t just jaw-dropping, it’s destructive….
At best, this is irresponsible. It may verge on criminal incitement.
I followed talkRADIO’s interview with Jayda Fransen, the Britain First leader retweeted by Trump, with this response to Sam Delaney:
The threat to my way of life in Britain is not Islam, the Muslims with whom I work. It’s not Muslim refugees, some of whom are my students. It’s not the Muslims with whom my children went to school, or the Muslims who treated me in hospital when I broke my shoulder.
The threat to my way of life, decency, and tolerance is someone like Jayda Fransen and it is someone like Donald Trump for retweeting Jayda Fransen. Because this is hatred: it is hatred which is not meant to unite us, but to divide us. It thrives on conflict and aggression. It thrives on bitterness. It thrives on all that is means, and it tries to choke off all that is good.
Trump is uninformed about issues — he probably thinks Britain First is related to “America First”, his motif. He also likes to play to his base….
But this tweet goes beyond the pale. It promulgates the message of a right-wing hate group.
Donald Trump has no boundaries….Let’s be clear. This is not a man who is acting in an official capacity. This is a person who for whatever reason — his views on race and religion, his ego — is lashing out.
It makes it even worse that Donald Trump didn’t know who Britain First or Jayda Fransen are. Without having any knowledge, without having any investigation of the issue, he retweeted these videos purely of the Islamophobia in them to blame all Muslims.
He is trying to mobilize his supporters against Muslims in the US, as well as around the world.
Should the UK Government withdraw its invitation for a State visit by Donald Trump?
“We’re in much bigger territory now. Can you even work with Donald Trump on political, social, or economic issues? The UK has to work with American officials, but not Trump.”
The US and UK have had for decades this idea of certain values like freedom, democracy, tolerance, and respect. While we might have fallen short of upholding those values, Donald Trump has put a spotlight on “How much damage do to those values when he puts a spotlight on a far-right group in Britain?”
Trump is more like a maverick politician from parts of the world that we do not associate with reasoned and careful diplomacy.
You don’t look for rational strategy or tactics from Donald Trump….You have to acknowledge that he is an accomplice to possible incitement of hatred and incitement of violence….There’s nothing moral about this at all
Q: Do you think Donald Trump is a racist?
A: Yes. Let me choose my words carefully. By recycling those distorted and even fake videos that said all Muslims are responsible for violence, he became an accomplice to incitement of hatred and even incitement of violence with which Britain First is associated.