Trump retweets fake image of Nancy Pelosi wearing hijab in front of Iranian flag
US President Donald Trump has come under fire for retweeting several images targeting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, including a fake photo of the veteran Democrat standing in front of an Iranian flag wearing a hijab.
"The corrupted Dems trying their best to come to the Ayatollah's rescue. #NancyPelosiFakeNews," the tweet from the unverified account read.
In the doctored photo, Pelosi could be seen standing next to Senator Chuck Schumer, the highest-ranking Democrat in the Senate, who is wearing a turban.
The retweet was one of a slew of early morning tweets made by the US president on Monday with the hashtag #NancyPelosiFakeNews.
Hend Amry, a Libyan-American writer with a large Twitter following, called Trump's tweets "absolutely vile," adding that it was tantamount to "hate speech".
"Why the actual hell is the president of the United States using the way I and millions of other Americans dress and the religious beliefs that We hold as a slur. This absolutely must be condemned by congressional lawmakers on both sides of the aisle," Amry said.
"Trump is again using anti-Muslim and anti-Iranian sentiment to attack Democrats," Ryan J Suto, Policy Counsel for the Arab American Institute wrote on Twitter, sharing a screenshot of the tweet.
'This isn't surprising and it isn't new, but we still need to call it wrong every time it happens'
- Ryan J Suto, Arab American Institute
"This isn't surprising and it isn't new, but we still need to call it wrong every time it happens," Suto continued.
Later on Monday White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham told Fox News that the president shared the image as a way to show that Democrats side with terrorists.
"I think the president is making clear that the Democrats have been parroting Iranian talking points and almost taking the side of terrorists and those who are out to kill Americans," Grisham said.
"I think the president was making a point that the Democrats hate him so much that they are willing to be on the side of countries and leadership of countries who want to kill Americans," she continued.
Trump's handling of Iran
Another image shared by Trump on Monday morning appeared to show a bloodied and ragged dead body hanging over a barbed wire fence.
"Question: Who in America supports this mullahs' crime?" the text accompanying the grotesque image shared by the president reads. "Answer : Nancy Pelosi."
Twitter added a graphic image warning over the tweet, but as of noon in Washington, the tweet remained live, with the anti-Pelosi hashtag shared around 146,000 times.
Trump's hashtag campaign against the House speaker appears to be prompted by a recent interview Pelosi gave to ABC news, during which she was critical of Trump's handling of Washington's Iran policy.
Pelosi, along with most Democrats, has criticised Trump's unilateral decision to order the killing of Qassem Soleimani, Tehran's top general. She has also led the House's successful vote on articles of impeachment against the US president.
On Friday, the House passed a measure seeking to limit Trump's military actions against Iran.
Pelosi had not issued a response to Trump's tweet by the time of this article's publication, but when asked during her ABC interview on Sunday about Trump's habit of attacking her on social media, she said every attack the president made against her is a "boost".
"I'd like to talk about some more pleasant subjects than the erratic nature of this president of the United States," Pelosi said. "But he has to know that every knock from him is a boost."
Democrats are not alone in slamming Trump for his Iran policy. An ABC News/Ipsos poll taken over the weekend found that 56 percent of all Americans disaprove of Trump's handling of the situation with Iran.