As I included in Quick Takes yesterday, Donald Trump called for a total ban on all Muslims entering the U.S. The reaction from his fellow Republicans was pretty immediate (you can find a summary here) with even Dick Cheney weighing in.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney condemned GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States.
In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, Cheney said the plan, which Trump announced Monday, “goes against everything we stand for and believe in.”
“I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from,” he added.
In his statement, Trump cited statistics from a group called Center for Security Policy whose leader Frank Gaffney has a history of stirring up Islamophobia.
CSP’s founder Frank Gaffney is a former Reagan administration official who has suggested U.S. officials have ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, that the appointment of Justice Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court was a move by the “stealth jihad” movement and that President Obama is secretly a practicing Muslim.
But what struck me was that last Friday Franklin Graham (son of evangelist Billy Graham and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse) called for the same ban on Muslims entering the U.S. in a post on Facebook. Here is Graham’s entire hate-filled screed:
It’s confirmed—San Bernardino shooter Syed Rizwan Farook was a devout Muslim. Friends say he had memorized the Koran. The headlines say Farook and his wife were a couple “bent on jihad.” President Obama and his administration are trying to blame this incident on gun control when it was caused by hate-filled hearts intent on killing infidels in the name of Islam. Take away the guns and this couple would’ve still slaughtered innocent civilians. Their apartment was a bomb-making factory! It’s happened in France and it’s happening here. ISIS has warned us that more attacks like this are going to follow. Next time it could be a mall or a school, but until our politicians understand and admit the threat of radical Islam we’re going to have more of these horrible acts of violence. Farook’s wife, Tafsheen Malik, was allowed into America on a “K-1” Fiance visa and reports now confirm she had pledged allegiance to ISIS before the massacre. Mr. President, we don’t need more gun control—we need border patrol. No Muslims should be allowed into this country until there’s a process in place to fully vet them. We’ve got to turn away those who could potentially pose a threat until this war with radical Islam is over.
Now…you might suggest that Graham isn’t running for president. And you’d be right. But for fundamentalist and evangelical Christians, the Graham family represents a leadership dynasty that has been respected for decades. And this is the kind of thing they are hearing from Franklin regularly. He has not only been fabricating stories about President Obama being a Muslim, he has been sounding downright McCarthyite.
“One of the problems we have in the West is that our governments, especially in Washington, has been infiltrated by Muslims who are advising the White House, who I think are part of the problem,” Graham said. “And we see this also in Western Europe. They have gotten into the halls of power.”
Trump is merely tapping into a well that has been primed by the likes of Frank Gaffney and Franklin Graham for a while now.