President Donald Trump has used his Twitter account as a platform to attack others, embellish his own accomplishments and mislead the public to a degree that makes it difficult to argue it's not deliberate. His deceptive Islamophobic tweets on Wednesday morning were no different.
The president retweeted three unverified videos posted to Twitter by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First, a far-right ultranationalist political organization that is opposed to multiculturalism and campaigns against Islam.
"Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!" Fransen wrote in the first video the president retweeted. Except the origins of the video tell a different story than the deliberately manipulative and provocative caption used by Fransen.
The video was originally posted in May on the Dutch video sharing website, Dumpert, which was launched by GeenStijl, a Dutch blog.
After the video was published, Dutch police detained a 16-year-old. However, "there was no word about the origin or religion of the young suspects" after police reported the arrests in a press release at the time, according to De Telegraaf, the largest newspaper in the Netherlands. At the request of the victim, and the police, the video was removed.
"The perpetrator was not a Muslim, let alone a migrant, but simply a Dutchman," GeenStijl wrote.
But Trump retweeted two other videos posted by Fransen titled, "Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!" and "Islamist mob pushes teenage boy off roof and beats him to death!" origins of which have not yet been verified.
If the videos weren't questionable enough, Fransen certainly would be. She was found guilty of religiously aggravated harassment in November 2016, after abusing a Muslim woman who was wearing a hijab. Fransen was fined over $2,000 "for wearing a political uniform and shouting at Sumayyah Sharpe during a 'Christian patrol' of Bury Park in Luton," according to The Independent.
When she realized the president had retweeted her posts, she was ecstatic.
THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, DONALD TRUMP, HAS RETWEETED THREE OF DEPUTY LEADER JAYDA FRANSEN'S TWITTER VIDEOS! DONALD TRUMP HIMSELF HAS RETWEETED THESE VIDEOS AND HAS AROUND 44 MILLION FOLLOWERS! GOD BLESS YOU TRUMP! GOD BLESS AMERICA! OCS @JaydaBF @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/BiQfQkTra9
— Jayda Fransen (@JaydaBF) November 29, 2017
Fransen has since tweeted several articles about the news that Trump had spread anti-Islamic messages on his Twitter account.
Trump has often viewed himself as the arbiter of so-called fake news but has by and large been the most influential and consistent promulgator of it.
On CNN, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Trump's retweets were "bizarre and disturbing" and that they have "all kinds of ripple effects."
Former DNI Clapper calls President Trump's retweeting of anti-Muslim videos "bizarre and disturbing" and says it "has all kinds of ripple effects" https://t.co/nZXuqXtgiv https://t.co/iJ8bzIUPwF — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) November 29, 2017
Others on Twitter also expressed their disgust.
Trump sharing Britain First. Let that sink in. The President of the United States is promoting a fascist, racist, extremist hate group whose leaders have been arrested and convicted. He is no ally or friend of ours. @realDonaldTrump you are not welcome in my country and my city.
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) November 29, 2017
Jayda Fransen is a wretched human being and no matter what expectations one has for him, it's revolting and actually shocking that Trump is re-tweeting multiple hate-mongering videos from her of random Muslims doing bad things. — Glenn Greenwald (@ggreenwald) November 29, 2017
Even Paul Joseph Watson, of Infowars, wrote that Trump's retweets were not good "optics."
Yeah, someone might want to tell whoever is running Trump's Twitter account this morning that retweeting Britain First is not great optics.
— Paul Joseph Watson (@PrisonPlanet) November 29, 2017