WH: Trump Retweeted Racist Videos To ‘Elevate The Conversation’

White House / Public Domain

Press Secretary Sarah H. Sanders said Trump 'elevated the conversation' after retweeting anti-Muslim videos.

In response to the backlash after President Donald Trump retweeted anti-Muslim videos from a Britain First account, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders emerged to explain that the president was trying to "elevate the conversation" by sharing the far-right group's videos.

Asked if he was aware of the risk of elevating fringe rightwing groups, Sanders told reporters: “Look, I think what he’s done is elevate the conversation to talk about a real issue and a real threat, and that’s extreme violence and extreme terrorism, something that we know to be very real, and something the president feels strongly about, talking about, and bringing up and making sure is an issue every single day, that we’re looking at the best ways to protect Americans.”

Sanders had previously indicated the veracity of the videos was irrelevant:

"Whether it is a real video, the threat is real," Sanders told reporters Wednesday morning. "That is what the President is talking about, that is what the President is focused on is dealing with those real threats, and those are real no matter how you look at it."

Trump's actions drew sharp rebuke, both at home and internationally, leading to a sparring match with UK Prime Minister Theresa May:

May's spokesperson said Trump had been "wrong" to share the videos, adding that "Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions. British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents -- decency, tolerance and respect."

Rather than place a phone call, the president responded via Twitter: