Major U.S. ally rebukes Trump over anti-Islamic retweets

(CBS NEWS) - President Trump's online endorsement of videos posted by a leader of an extremist UK fringe group is prompting reaction both in the United States and abroad.

The videos were tweeted out by the account held by Jayda Fransen, the deputy leader of the far-right U.K. political party "Britain First," which is known for promoting an anti-Islam, anti-immigration and nationalist agenda. The group is estimated to have only about 1,000 active members, and its rallies around the U.K. draw supporters numbering only in the hundreds.

Following Mr. Trump's retweets of Fransen, numerous lawmakers in the United Kingdom raised their concerns over the president's subtle support of the group.

Prime Minister Theresa May's spokesperson said in a statement in response to the retweets, that it was "wrong for the president to have done this." The statement added:

"Britain First seeks to divide communities through their use of hateful narratives which peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people. British people overwhelmingly reject the prejudiced rhetoric of the far-right, which is the antithesis of the values that this country represents - decency, tolerance, and respect."

Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labor party tweeted, "I hope our government will condemn far-right retweets by Donald Trump. They are abhorrent, dangerous and a threat to our society."

A member of Parliament, Yvette Cooper, took to the floor to condemn Fransen's remarks, tweeting that the UK government "can't stay silent" on Mr. Trump's tweets, calling it "disgraceful and dangerous."

Brendan Cox, husband of the Labour party lawmaker Jo Cox who was killed by a man who shouted the name of the group at the time of her slaying, tweeted in response to Mr. Trump's retweets Wednesday morning, saying he has "legitimized the far right in his own country, now he's trying to do it in ours. Spreading hatred has consequences and the president should be ashamed of himself."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also responded to the outcry later Wednesday morning, telling reporters "regardless of the video, the threat is very real."

She added, "the president has talked about the need for strong borders and strong security since the campaign trail, that's not a secret that's something he'll continue talking about and continue highlighting in a lot of different venues and avenues."

Asked if the president's retweets were an endorsement of the "Britain First" movement, Sanders replied, "Not that I'm aware of but he does endorse a strong national security and endorses strong borders."

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.