It’s the diplomatic feud that has the U.S. and U.K. at odds. President Trump’s retweet of a British far-right group was met with criticism by 10 Downing Street. Now Trump is hitting back on Twitter.
What does this mean for the countries’ “special relationship”? CGTN’s Natalie Powell is in London with the latest.
It was the social media storm that looked to disrupt relations on both sides of the Atlantic.
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Speaking to reporters during a visit to Jordan, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May reiterated her criticism of President Trump for retweeting anti-Muslim posts by far-right British group, Britain First.
“The fact that we work together does not mean that we’re afraid to say when we think the United States have got it wrong and to be very clear with them. And I’m very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do,” May said.
Those remarks came after Trump swung back after May’s initial criticism – taking again to Twitter:
.@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
Despite the diplomatic row, May insists relations remain strong between the U.K. and the U.S., and that plans for Donald Trump’s state visit remain in place, though a date for the visit has yet to be set. But that’s not stopping many parliament members from voicing their disapproval of Trump’s actions – and demanding the visit be canceled.
“I don’t think he is welcome here. I think the invite that has been made to him to come to our country in early 2018 should be withdrawn. He is normalizing hatred,” Chuka Umunna, British MEP of the Labour Party said.
The backlash over Trump’s retweets could be politically tricky for the Prime Minster. While she has reflected popular sentiment in condemning the move, she’s also keen to retain good relations, particularly as the UK eyes a post-Brexit trade deal with its key ally.
White House Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders responded to this backlash. She insisted the president’s retweet had been misinterpreted. The retweet, she said, was not anti-Muslim, but rather pro- “national security”.