President Trump strives to be the opposite of his predecessor in every way, so you can be sure that none of his trips abroad will turn into an “apology tour” — even when he enraged one of our closest allies by doing something that he really should be sorry for.
While in Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum, President Trump was interviewed by Piers Morgan for Good Morning Britain. In a clip released on Friday morning, Morgan pressed Trump about three videos he retweeted in November that purportedly showed Muslims committing acts of violence. It turned out the videos were posted by Jayda Fransen, leader of the far-right Britain First Party, and elements of the footage were mischaracterized. This sparked a spat between Trump and U.K. prime minister Theresa May when she said Trump was wrong to promote the group’s “prejudiced rhetoric,” and the president lashed out at her on Twitter.
Trump told Morgan he retweeted the videos because he’s a “big believer in fighting radical Islamic terror,” and explained that while his retweeting of a far-right extremist group might have caused an uproar in the U.K., “it was not a big story where I am.”
Trump then tried to shift the focus to his great love of all things British, but Morgan asked if he could get an apology for the retweets, saying “I think it would go a long way.”
“If you’re telling me they’re horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologize if you’d like me to do that,” Trump answered. “I know nothing about them.”
Morgan asked if Trump would disavow himself of such people. “I don’t want to be involved with people like that,” Trump said. “But you’re telling me about these people because I know nothing about these people.”
Morgan thanked Trump, telling him “it means a lot to people in Britain.”
This exchange was labeled as an apology to the U.K. by Morgan, Good Morning Britain, and a number of other outlets. Bloomberg tweeted that Trump had offered a “rare public apology.”
But many people noted that Trump didn’t actually say he was sorry; he emphasized that he knew nothing about Britain First when he decided to disperse unverified and inflammatory videos to his millions of Twitter followers, and said he “would certainly apologize” if it would make Morgan stop pestering him.
Everyone mocked Trump for saying he has “the best words,” but he does know how to get out of an awkward situation without saying anything he doesn’t want to.