A group of House Democrats want the State Department to give an accounting of President Trump’s Twitter activity and how it affects international diplomacy and security.
Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and 20 other members of the Foreign Affairs Committee have asked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s team to brief them on several recent retweets by the president, who promoted a series of anti-Muslim videos published by a far-right British nationalist group. The lawmakers want details on the protest that State Department officials reportedly delivered to the White House.
“Specifically, we would like to know what concerns the State Department raised with the White House, to whom specifically those concerns were made known and when they were made known,” Engel, the top Democrat on the committee, wrote in a Wednesday letter released Thursday.
Trump’s retweets drew criticism from Prime Minister Theresa May and other British leaders, who faulted him for amplifying the “prejudiced rhetoric” of the group. “It is wrong for the president to have done this,” a May spokesman said. “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.”
Trump dismissed that rebuke. "Don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom," he tweeted at May.
The Democratic lawmakers suggested that such criticisms risked provoking terrorist attacks against American diplomats around the world.
“By promoting bigoted, nationalist, and racist ideology and policies on Twitter, President Trump is not only promoting Islamophobia but also stoking hatred of America and helping to recruit those who mean harm to our country and citizens,” they wrote. “This is inconsistent with American values, and counter to U.S. foreign policy—especially when it means alienating an important ally.”