White House press secretary Sarah Sanders defended President Trump on Wednesday after he shared a series of unverified videos that allegedly portrayed Muslims beating and harassing non-Muslim individuals.
At least one of the videos was later described as "fake" by a Dutch news outlet. Sanders said that didn't matter.
"Whether it's a real video, the threat is real," Sanders told reporters. "[Trump's] goal is to promote strong border security and strong national security."
Sanders continued, criticizing reporters for pressing her on whether Trump should verify the content of videos before sharing them with his 43 million followers on Twitter.
"I'm not talking about the nature of the video. I think you're focusing on the wrong thing," she said. "The threat is real, and that's what the president is talking about."
Trump retweeted the three videos early Wednesday morning, after they were initially posted by far-right British party leader Jayda Fransen, who was previously charged with four counts of religiously aggravated harassment by a court in the United Kingdom.
The separate videos claimed to portray a Muslim immigrant beating up a Dutch boy on crutches, a Muslim man destroying a statue of the Virgin Mary, and a group of Muslim men pushing a teenage boy off the roof of a building. A Dutch news report stated the video of a "Muslim immigrant beating up a Dutch boy on crutches" was really just a dark-haired Dutch boy fighting a light-haired Dutch boy.
Trump drew immediate backfire from regular critics of his administration, along with individuals who have been largely supportive of his presidency.
"President Donald Trump today publicly endorsed disgusting, far-right Islamophobia and racism," British commentator and longtime Trump friend Piers Morgan wrote in a column for the Daily Mail.
"I don't know what on earth possessed Donald Trump to offer such a stunning, shocking and repulsive endorsement of these racist Muslim-despising scumbags," Morgan added.