Donald Trump said he “would certainly apologize” to Britain for promoting controversial videos put out by a British far-right group that he acknowledged he “knew nothing about.”
Trump caused widespread outrage in Britain last November when he re-tweeted three videos that purported to show brutal acts committed by Islamic extremists. The videos, at least one of which has been judged misleading, were originally posted on Twitter by Britain First, a group condemned by many as racist and xenophobic.
In an interview with British celebrity presenter Piers Morgan, who has boasted of his friendship with Trump, the U.S. leader admitted he knew nothing about Britain First and said he was not endorsing the group. At the same time, he shrugged off the outrage his re-tweet caused in Britain, saying that “in the United States it wasn’t a big story.”
“Certainly I wasn’t endorsing anybody. I knew nothing about them,” Trump said of Britain First, adding: “If you’re telling me that they’re horrible people, horrible racist people, I would certainly apologize if you’d like me to do that.”
Trump’s stated willingness to apologize over the videos is in stark contrast to his original response to the outrage that his re-tweeted videos sparked last November. After British Prime Minister Theresa May and London Mayor Sadiq Khan criticized Trump for giving a platform to an organization widely considered racist and fascist, Trump lashed back at both leaders for allegedly being weak on terrorism and radical Islam.
In the interview with Morgan, Trump insisted he had a good relationship with May, who has invited Trump to make a state visit to Britain. That is likely to happen later this year, and is almost certain to draw huge street protests. Asked what he would say to those in Britain who opposed his coming, Trump was disdainful.
“I don’t say anything,” he said. “You know why? ’Cuz I don’t care.”
Trump’s remarks came in a half-hour interview conducted by Morgan in Davos, Switzerland, where Trump is attending the World Economic Forum. Excerpts of the interview were shown Friday on “Good Morning Britain,” the ITV morning show that Morgan presents. The full meeting – Trump’s first overseas interview since becoming president – will be broadcast Sunday night.