A British government minister has hit out at Donald Trump for endorsing a “vile, hate-filled racist” far-right group in fierce criticism that contrasted with his Cabinet colleagues.
Sajid Javid, the Communities Secretary, said he would would “refuse to let it go and say nothing” after the US President shared three inflammatory anti-Muslim videos spread by Britain First’s deputy leader, Jayda Fransen.
“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.”
Javid, a former banker and son of a bus driver from Pakistan, acknowledges a “Muslim heritage” but practises no religion.
Earlier, Theresa May had criticised Trump directly when her official spokesman said the President was “wrong” to have supported Britain First’s attempts to “divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tension”.
Education Secretary Justine Greening repeated the line that Trump was “wrong” to retweet Britain First, and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson raised eyebrows when he condemned Britain First - but made no mention of Trump.
Javid’s remarks were widely hailed, even among Labour MPs.
The condemnation came as Trump’s press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended his actions.
“Whether it’s a real video, the threat is real. His goal is to promote strong border security and strong national security,” she said.
Trump’s actions have increased calls for the Government to rescind a state visit for the US President, but Downing Street has said it still stands. “The United States is one of our oldest and closest allies. An invitation for a state visit has been extended and accepted. Further details will announced in due course,” a spokesman said.
The videos retweeted by Trump include footage of migrants allegedly assaulting a boy on crutches, clips of a boy allegedly thrown of a roof and a video claiming to show a Muslim destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary. None of the videos have been verified.