London: UK Prime Minister Theresa May delivered a rare public admonishment to US President Donald Trump on Thursday, declaring that he was "wrong" to share anti-Muslim videos posted online by a "hateful" British far-right group.
May, facing intense pressure to cancel a planned state visit by Trump, was forced to address the controversy in person after the President criticized her on Twitter. But she insisted the US-UK relationship would survive the storm, and suggested the visit by Trump would go ahead.
As the extraordinary diplomatic clash stretched into a second day, the British ambassador to the US revealed he had expressed concerns to the White House about the affair. Trump also faced an unprecedented barrage of criticism in UK Parliament, where MPs variously called him "racist," "fascist" and "evil."
Asked about Trump's actions on a visit to Amman, Jordan, May said: "I'm very clear that retweeting from Britain First was the wrong thing to do. Britain First is a hateful organization. It seeks to spread mistrust and division in our communities. It stands against common British decency," she said. But May declined to rescind the offer of a visit. "The invitation for a state visit has been extended and has been accepted. We have yet to set a date."
The controversy began on Wednesday morning when Trump shared three videos posted on Twitter by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of Britain First.
Amid outrage in the UK, May criticized the President through her spokesman. That prompted a rebuke from Trump on Twitter: "@Theresa_May, don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom. We are doing just fine!"
On Twitter, the British ambassador to Washington, Sir Kim Darroch, said he had been in touch with the Trump administration.