DAVOS: Donald Trump has said he is prepared to apologise for retweeting controversial social media posts about Muslims from a British far-right group, prompting a diplomatic row with the UK.
If you are telling me they’re horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologise
Speaking from the World Economic Forum, the US president said he didn’t know who Britain First was, and didn’t want to cause any difficulty.
The retweets in November provoked a public spat between Trump and Theresa May. After the British prime minister criticised him publicly, the president took to Twitter again to tell May she should focus on fighting “Radical Islamic Terrorism”.
Speaking to UK broadcaster ITV in Davos, Trump said he did not want “to cause any difficulty for your country”.
“If you are telling me they’re horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologise if you’d like me to do that,” he said when pressed for an apology. “I am often the least racist person that anybody is going to meet. Certainly I wasn’t endorsing anybody,” he added.
In November Donald Trump shared three videos posted by Jayda Fransen, Britain First’s deputy leader, without commenting. All showed alleged incidents involving Muslims, were condemned as inflammatory, and at least one was called out by fact-checkers for being wrong.
After a week of warnings by European leaders on the dangers of nationalism, isolationism and protectionism, it is Donald Trump’s turn to deliver a speech at Davos, Switzerland.
Once again he is expected to set out his “America First” policy.
White House aides say his message will be the same that he has given during other trips abroad over the past year: The United States wants strong ties with its allies but is also determined to reduce its chronic trade deficits with many of them.
Our correspondent in Davos, Sasha Vakulina, said:
“On the last day of the World Economic Forum, all eyes turn to Donald Trump.
“The US president has brought his ‘America First’ message to the ground zero of globalisation, also saying that America is open for business.
“The leader of the world’s biggest economy delivers his message to over 3,000 participants, including more than 70 heads of state and government and 45 heads of international organisations.”