The President caused outrage on Wednesday by retweeting three anti-islamic posts by Britain First’s deputy leader Jayda Fransen to his 43.6 million followers.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman later said that Britain First was dedicated to causing division among communities and that the President had been “wrong” to share the posts.
However, Trump took to Twitter in the middle of the night to personally tweet Mrs May in a virtually unprecedented rebuke by a head of state to the leader of a close ally.
.@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
He wrote: ”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!”
Trump originally sent the tweet to the wrong Theresa May, an account that has just six followers.
Downing Street said it would not be responding to the tweet from the President.
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However, other Tory frontbenchers have spoken up, including Communities Secretary Sajid Javid, who said Trump had “endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me”, adding: “He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing.”
Conservative MP Nadhim Zahawi shared a letter he has written to Trump to register his “strong discontent” at the retweets.
Education Secretary Justine Greening also said this morning that she disagrees with Trump’s tweeted attack on the Prime Minister – but does not believe it should be allowed to detract from Britain’s relationship with America and the American people.
She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “In the end, our relationship with the United States has a longevity to it that will succeed long after presidents come and go.
“I don’t agree with the tweet President Trump has made, but I have to say I also believe it should not distract from the agenda we have domestically and I don’t believe it should detract from the close relationship the UK has had for many, many years and will go on to have with America and the American people.
“This is a President that behaves unlike any other in the nature of the tweets he puts out. I don’t believe that should be able to undermine an overall important relationship with our country.”
Brendan Cox, whose MP wife Jo was murdered by a man shouting “Britain first”, also criticised the President for his tweet, telling him on Twitter: “You have a mass shooting every single day in your country, your murder rate is many times that of the UK, your healthcare system is a disgrace, you can’t pass anything through a Congress that you control. I would focus on that.”
So POTUS has endorsed the views of a vile, hate-filled racist organisation that hates me and people like me. He is wrong and I refuse to let it go and say nothing
— Sajid Javid (@sajidjavid) November 29, 2017
You have a mass shooting every single day in your country, your murder rate is many times that of the UK, your healthcare system is a disgrace, you can’t pass anything through a congress that you control. I would focus on that. https://t.co/SNcqOZGvLQ
— Brendan Cox (@MrBrendanCox) November 30, 2017
— Vince Cable (@vincecable) November 30, 2017
— Nadhim Zahawi (@nadhimzahawi) November 29, 2017
Responding to Mr Trump’s comments about radical Islamism in the UK, Ms Greening said: “The reality of what is happening in the UK is that this is a country united against terrorism and extremism, that has done a huge amount of work to combat that and is broadly a country at ease with itself in relation to being a very diverse place.”
In its response to the Trump’s original tweets on Wednesday, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people.
“British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents, decency, tolerance and respect.
“It is wrong for the President to have done this.”
Fransen, 31, who was convicted last November of religiously aggravated harassment for hurling abuse at a Muslim woman in a hijab, welcomed Mr Trump’s rebuke to the PM, tweeting: “Well said Mr President! If Theresa May expressed as much outrage at the content of my videos as she has that Donald Trump retweeted them, we’d be a lot safer.”
The Britain First posts included unverified videos titled “Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!” and “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!”
The Dutch authorities said on Wednesday that the attacker in the first video was in fact born and raised in the Netherlands.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the President had been seeking to “promote strong borders and strong national security”.