US President Donald Trump has said he is prepared to apologise for retweeting inflammatory videos by the far-right Britain First group.
In an interview with ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Mr Trump said he had known nothing about the organisation when he made the social media postings.
“I knew nothing about them and I know nothing about them today other than I read a little bit,” he told presenter Piers Morgan.
“Perhaps it was a big story in Britain , perhaps it was a big story in the UK, but in the United States it wasn’t a big story.
“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 he had made the retweets because he was concerned about the threat posed by radical Islamic extremists.
“They had a couple of depictions of radical Islamic terror. It was done because I am a big believer in fighting radical Islamic terror. This was a depiction of radical Islamic terror,” he said.
Mr Trump caused outrage in Britain when he posted the three tweets last November, prompting Prime Minister Theresa May to say he was “wrong” to have done so.
The president subsequently pulled out of an expected visit to Britain to open the new US embassy building in London, leading to speculation of a diplomatic rift.
However, after meeting Mrs May at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, he insisted that relations were in good shape.
“We actually have a very good relationship, although a lot of people think we don’t,” he told Good Morning Britain.
“I support her, I support a lot of what she does and a lot of what she says.”
Great bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May of the United Kingdom, affirming the special relationship and our commitment to work together on key national security challenges and economic opportunities. #WEF18 pic.twitter.com/FPP8aRDAyt— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2018
Following the meeting, officials said Mr Trump would be making his first visit to the UK as US president later this year.
It appears likely, however, that the trip will not be the full state occasion to which Mr Trump was invited by Mrs May, but a lower-key working visit.
Mr Trump’s appearance in the UK is not expected until the second half of 2018 – and is likely to be met by protests.
Downing Street said: “The PM and president concluded by asking officials to work together on finalising the details of a visit by the president to the UK later this year.”
During their 40-minute meeting in Davos, Mrs May also raised the issue of aircraft manufacturer Bombardier, which has a major plant in Northern Ireland and is at the centre of a US trade dispute.