Presidential (Re)tweets Spark Debate

By: Neal Kisor, News Writer

Trump’s Twitter escapades are a hot topic for many political followers. Many people, including Trump’s most staunch defendants have criticized his Twitter usage. Trump gained a new opponent in the past week when his tweets and retweets led to disputes between him and British Prime Minister Theresa May.

The dispute began after Trump retweeted an anti-Muslim video from “Britain First”, an extremist group. The video sparked many harsh reactions from British government officials. Theresa May denounced Trump’s decision to retweet the video after calling Britain First a “hateful organization.” The British ambassador to the United States, Sir Kim Darroch, wrote a letter to the White House in protest. Many British officials are labeling Trump racist and incompetent because of the retweet.

Much like how America is currently polarized with its political parties, Britain is also polarized. The decision to leave the European Union, or Brexit, caused stirs of discontent throughout the Isles. On top of that, many far-right groups in Britain have gained traction following the recent surge of the alt-right movement in America. This is a trend seen all over the world, more and more politically deviant groups are making a rise in countries such as France, Germany, and Austria.

Far-right movements have been analyzed by many political scientists. One such political scientist, Cas Muddle, describes far-right movements as consisting of five elements: nationalism, racism, xenophobia, opposition to democracy and support for strong states. That’s not to label Trump as a racist or a xenophobe. However, Britain First certainly falls under those elements.

In response to Theresa May’s criticism, Trump remarked that she should focus on the “Islamic Terrorism” taking place in the United Kingdom. Theresa May was quick to counter by reassuring Trump and the world that the United Kingdom takes groups like Britain First seriously, and plans to tackle groups like it and many others at the source.

This schism between the United States and Britain is one of the most drastic in quite some time. Many are pointing out that a fracture like the one this past week hasn’t occurred since Ronald Reagan didn’t inform Margaret Thatcher about the invasion of Grenada back in 1983. However, because the world is so connected today, everyone is able to see these online fights on a daily basis. As two polarized nations raise their hackles at one another, one must wonder. What tweet will set off the next argument?