In rare rebuke of Trump, UK’s May says leaders must condemn far-right views

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele at Tyne Cot cemetery near Ypres in Belgium
Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May attends commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the battle of Passchendaele at Tyne Cot cemetery near Ypres in Belgium, July 31, 2017. REUTERS/Tim Rooke/Pool

August 16, 2017

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday there was no equivalence between fascists and those who opposed them, a rare rebuke of U.S. President Donald Trump by one of his closest foreign allies.

Trump inflamed tensions after a deadly rally of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, by insisting that counter-protesters were also to blame, drawing condemnation from some Republican leaders and praise from white far-right groups.

“There’s no equivalence, I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them and I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them,” May told reporters when asked to comment on Trump’s stance.

On Monday, May’s spokesman had said that while Britain condemned racism, what the U.S. president said was “a matter for him”.

May has been widely criticized by domestic political opponents for her efforts to cultivate close ties with Trump, who she visited at the White House days after his inauguration and invited for a state visit to Britain.

Her openly critical comment on Wednesday was an unexpected shift from May, who is keen to cement what she and many other Britons see as a “special relationship” between London and Washington as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.

The invitation to Trump to make a state visit to Britain sparked immediate controversy in Britain when the U.S. head of state announced his widely-criticized ban on travel from Muslim-majority countries just hours after May left the White House.

Trump’s stance on the Charlottesville violence drew renewed calls for Trump’s state visit, which would be hosted by Queen Elizabeth and involve lavish pageantry, to be canceled. May had rejected similar calls after previous Trump-related controversies.

“Donald Trump has shown he is unable to detach himself from the extreme-right and racial supremacists,” said Vince Cable, leader of the opposition Liberal Democrats.

“It would be completely wrong to have this man visit the UK on a State Visit.”

No date has been announced for the visit.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, editing by Estelle Shirbon)

  • Bill Smith

    Let’s begin with her ugly hat. That matters more to me than her opinion of how we run our country. We are still the Greatest Nation On Earth. Would she like to hear my views on how the British do things? NO

  • TruthInLogic

    Fix your increasing moslem problems before throwing stones

  • Bill Jr

    British Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday there was no equivalence between… Socialists Like Bernie Sanders (Fascists) and those Conservatives and Republicans who opposed them. Really? I Beg To Differ. They Way Things Are Going Historians Are Going To Say Ronald Reagan Was Marxist and FDR Was a Member of a The John Birch Society.

  • Deplorable Phytomorphogenesis

    theresa may, you lost an election you did not have to call. you lost the majority. you don’t want Brexit to happen, and now you are condemning your only friend? WAKE UP you crazy nutjob. you were never democratically elected in the 1st place. While you sat safe and protected, 2 terrorist attacks happened under your watch, and people were murdered. Then an entire Grenfell Tower burnt, killing hundreds, and you dared not report the truths.
    Woman, you are an incompetent baboon. Get off the high horse, and set your own F’king house in order first.

  • LuciusAnnaeusSeneca

    “I see no equivalence between those who propound fascist views and those who oppose them and I think it is important for all those in positions of responsibility to condemn far-right views wherever we hear them”.

    And this, in a nutshell, is the problem that besets the contemporary Conservative Party in the UK. Its ideology has drifted so far leftward that they no longer see a danger from the militant left. Perhaps this leftward drift by the Tories has sapped Labour Party and other leftists of some of their strength, but it has come at a price, namely the loss of any ability to properly identify and take a position on the violent left. There is no “clear blue water” between May’s Tories and the violent left, only between May’s Tories and those to its right, including UKIP and genuine conservative backbenchers.

    The “new” Tories of May and her ilk mimic and embody in their own way the EU leadership to which they are now ostensibly opposed. They are a party without a strong identity or ideology other than to form a ruling combine that includes elitists, soft leftists (“Social Democrats”, i.e., socialists), globalists, and Islamists. That is the makeup of the Tory party today. It has no other objective but to stay in power, and has no collective moral basis as it is an alliance of convenience among the British elite. Sad days for the UK lie ahead, Brexit or no Brexit.