Trump Tweets Threaten Historical Alliance With UK
The US-UK relationship reached a crucial turning point Wednesday after Trump reacted to May’s critique of his retweets of islamophobic videos. In a sharp response, the US president told May to focus on terrorism in Britain rather than focus on him.
The extent of Trump’s newest Twitter attack was revealed on Wednesday morning when he retweeted three videos posted by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the UK far-right group Britain First. The videos depicted Muslims assaulting people and smashing a statue of the Virgin Mary.
The tweets followed Trump’s repeated warnings of allowing immigration from Muslim-majority nations. Britain First, generally a minor influence on public discourse, saw a sudden increase in its followers. Among other supporters of the tweets was David Duke, former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard who responded to public outcry by stating, “That’s why we love him!”
This was not Trump’s first public expression of disdain for British policies. The president already attacked British foreign policy issues such as strong borders and national security, as well as the nuclear deal with Iran. What is left now of the historical relationship between the countries that claim to have “no closer ally” than each other?
However, with British preparations to leave the EU in 2019, it can be assumed that May will not jeopardize a good economic relationship with the US. Confirming this prediction, May already rejected public pressure to withdraw President Trump’s invitation for a state visit.
Earlier this year, about 1.8 million people signed a petition that urged the government to retract the invitation. Among the growing list of British officials who expressed outrage over Trump’s newest tweets, is Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, who has already been involved in other Twitter disputes with the American president. Khan stated that the videos made it clear that” any official visit at all from President Trump to Britain is not welcomed.”
Trump himself seems to be more in favor of building close relationships with autocracies in the Middle East. However, the unprecedented offensive nature of his latest tweets led to serious discussions in the UK regarding the “special relationship” between the two countries.