Trump's 'radical Islamic terror' tweet fact-checked by agency he misquoted
U.S. President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with Governor Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo / Evan Vucci)
Published Friday, October 20, 2017 5:11PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 20, 2017 6:04PM EDT
Early Friday morning, U.S. President Donald Trump started his day by tweeting about a U.K. report that, according to his assessment, found a link between rising crime in the country and the “spread of Radical Islamic terror.”
That assessment simply isn’t true, according to the agency Trump appeared to quote. In fact, the words “radical Islamic terror” never appeared in the public report published Thursday.
When asked about Trump’s tweet, the Office for National Statistic in the United Kingdom told the Washington Post, “The simple answer is that our statistical release bulletin yesterday made no link between terrorism and violent crime.”
The agency was asked to elaborate, but told the Post that there was nothing more to explain: “That is the answer. There is a simple answer. There is no long answer.”
Regardless, the falsehood was retweeted more than 20,000 times from Trump’s Twitter account, where he has more than 40.8 million followers. It was liked more than 75,000 times.
Just out report: "United Kingdom crime rises 13% annually amid spread of Radical Islamic terror." Not good, we must keep America safe!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 20, 2017
It also drew plenty of outrage. U.K. politicians from across the political spectrum called out the president for spreading false information.
Ed Miliband, a Labour MP, tweeted, “Spreading lies about your own country: sad. Spreading lies about others: sadder. What an absolute moron.”
Spreading lies about your own country: sad. Spreading lies about others: sadder. What an absolute moron. https://t.co/0EACPcX9xR— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) October 20, 2017
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the U.K.’s Green Party, called on Prime Minister Theresa May to denounce the tweet.
Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson, accused Trump of “misleading and spreading fear.”
Stop misleading and spreading fear. Hate crime is up and it is fuelled by the kind of populist xenophobia you peddle. https://t.co/TigSMTGTqU— Jo Swinson (@joswinson) October 20, 2017
MP Yvette Cooper suggested that the message behind Trump’s tweet is part of the reason that hate crimes have seen an increase in the U.K.
Hate crime in UK up 29% - sadly encouraged by ignorant tweets like this. Not good POTUS https://t.co/MATvVAz48q— Yvette Cooper (@YvetteCooperMP) October 20, 2017
Tom Watson, deputy leader of the Labour Party, likened Trump’s tweet to a hate crime.
Officer, I’d like to report a hate crime. https://t.co/piD5sotK3P— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) October 20, 2017