WH Defends Trump Reposting Anti-Muslim Videos: ‘The Threat Is Real’

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday defended President Donald Trump retweeting anti-Muslim videos from a far-right UK leader.

“The threat is real, and that’s what the President is talking about, is the need for national security, the need for military spending, and those are very real things, there’s nothing fake about that,” she told reporters Wednesday.

Nowhere in a video of her justification to reporters posted by NBC (seen below), nor in quotes published by CBS’ Major Garret, does Sanders define “the threat.” She did not respond to TPM’s attempts to clarify her statements.

Trump on Wednesday morning retweeted three videos from the deputy leader of the far-right ultranationalist political party Britain First. They purported to show violent acts from an “Islamist mob” and a “Muslim migrant,” though the latter subject is reportedly not Muslim.

Trump also retweeted the British politician’s video, “Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!”

“Does it matter if it’s a fake video?” a reporter asked Sanders, as seen in NBC’s video.

“Look, I’m not talking about the nature of the video,” she replied. “I think you’re focusing on the wrong thing. The threat is real, and that’s what the President is talking about, is the need for national security, the need for military spending, and those are very real things, there’s nothing fake about that.”

“But that says the means justify the ends,” another reporter pressed.

“That’s not what I said, you’re putting words in my mouth,” Sanders replied. “I said that the threat is real, the threat needs to be addressed, the threat has to be talked about, and that’s what the President is doing in bringing that up.”

Trump’s actions were denounced by British Prime Minister Theresa May, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and British media personalities like Piers Morgan. The widow of British Parliamentarian Jo Cox, whose assassin reportedly shouted “Britain First” as he murdered her a week before the Brexit vote, said “the President should be ashamed of himself.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Matt Shuham is a news writer for TPM. He was previously assistant editor of The National Memo and managing editor of the Harvard Political Review. He is available by email at mshuham@talkingpointsmemo.com and on Twitter @mattshuham.

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