By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – U.S. President Donald Trump said he was ready to apologize for retweeting posts from a fringe far-right group Britain First last year.
In an interview with British ITV channel, Trump said he knew “nothing” about the organization when he retweeted three video clips it had posted.
Trump’s official Twitter account retweeted a series of inflammatory anti-Muslim videos in November 2017.
The three clips were previously tweeted by Britain First deputy leader Jayda Fransen, who was convicted by a U.K. court in November 2016 of religiously aggravated harassment.
The videos were automatically tweeted and retweeted by at least three accounts associated with the group. The accounts have since been suspended by Twitter.
"I don't want to cause any difficulty for your country,” Trump said in his interview with ITV’s Piers Morgan. The full interview is to be broadcast on Sunday.
"If you are telling me they're horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologize if you'd like me to do that," he said.
- 'Least racist person'
Britain First is well known in the U.K. for anti-Islam outbursts, anti-mosque protests as well as for street and online provocations. It was founded by former members of the British National Party in 2011.
Paul Golding, Britain First’s leader, and his deputy Fransen have been arrested numerous times and both have received convictions. They still face charges of using hate speech at a rally in Northern Ireland in August 2017.
"Of course I didn't know that. I know nothing about them and I know nothing about them today other than I read a little bit," Trump said.
"I don't know who they are. I know nothing about them so I wouldn't be doing that.
"I am often the least racist person that anybody is going to meet. Certainly I wasn't endorsing anybody."
May said following Trump’s retweets that “Britain First is a hateful organization."
“It stands against common Britain decency,” and Trump’s action was “wrong.”
May and Trump met at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday.
A statement from the British government said both leaders have asked their teams to finalize details regarding a visit to the U.K. later this year. After he retweeted Britain First's posts last November, Trump canceled an expected February trip to the U.K. to open the new U.S. Embassy building.
A state visit invitation was extended to Trump during May's visit to the U.S. on Jan. 27, 2017, sparking criticism in the U.K. due to a controversial travel ban by Washington on seven Muslim-majority countries.