President Trump on Monday retweeted a barrage of incendiary posts accusing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of downplaying protests in Iran and supporting the regime, including one image that showed two Democratic leaders edited into Muslim clothing with a backdrop of an Iranian flag.
The White House on Monday defended President Trump’s decision to retweet the image after it prompted allegations of Islamophobia and “hate speech.”
Trump on Monday morning shared the image from Twitter user @D0wn_Under, who tweeted it with the caption “The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah’s rescue.”
— داون آندر (@D0wn_Under) January 13, 2020
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, asked on Fox News why Trump would take the time to retweet the photoshopped image, said Trump did so to accuse Democrats of siding with terrorists.
“I think the president is making clear that the Democrats are, have been parroting Iranian talking points and almost taking the side of terrorists and those who were out to kill the Americans,” Grisham said.
“I think the president was making the point that the Democrats seem to hate him so much that they’re willing to be on the side of countries and leadership of countries who want to kill Americans,” she added.
Former government officials and activists took to Twitter to condemn the tweet as anti-Muslim.
“The President of the United States is engaging in hate speech against an entire religion,” tweeted Dana Shell Smith, a former ambassador to Qatar during the Obama administration. “And because he is President, it is in our name. It is on all of us – especially our elected officials- to demand that it stop.”
Jasmine El-Gamal, another former Obama administration official, called the tweet “deeply damaging” to Muslims in the United States.
“The picture highlights a deeply disturbing truth, which is that this President thinks that a good way to insult someone is by painting them as Muslim or as sympathetic to a Muslim country,” she tweeted.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said in a statement that the tweet was “childish, undignified and offensive.”
Sleeping Giants, a liberal activist organization, called on Twitter to remove the tweet for violating the platform’s conduct policy.
Never thought that @jack could or should suspend the president’s @twitter account, but this tweet is a pretty clear violation of their hateful conduct policy. What applies to one person should apply to all. This tweet is incredibly Islamophobic and should be removed. https://t.co/U7G2hk6Ltw
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) January 13, 2020