Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has intensified his defense of the deposed president of the Ivory Coast. Laurent Gbagbo, the country’s Roman Catholic president, lost a December election to opposition leader Alassane Ouattara, who is Muslim. While the country’s electoral commission and the international community, including African nations, recognized Ouattara as the winner, Gbagbo’s appointed national council threw out the results (saying Ouattara won through voter fraud) and Gbagbo declared himself the winner. Gbagbo’s wife, an evangelical Christian, even declared that “God has given us this victory.” Earlier this week forces loyal to Ouattara removed Gbagbo from power, clearing the way for Outtara to become president.
But the Religious Right in the U.S. has become one of Gbagbo’s biggest cheerleaders, even though the International Criminal Court wants him charged with crimes against humanity for human rights abuses. Pat Robertson defended Gbagbo, saying he’s “a Christian, he’s a nice person, and he’s run a fairly clean operation in the Ivory Coast” and accused Outarra of “building up that ring of Shariah law around the Middle East.”
In Congress, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has been one of the leading apologists for Gbagbo, who he knows through The Family/C Street. After unsuccessfully trying to soften the Obama Administration’s approach to Gbagbo in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who said that Gbagbo’s arrest “sends a strong signal to dictators and tyrants throughout the region and around the worlds,” Inhofe is now ripping the administration’s handling of the crisis and utilizing Gbagbo’s talking points about the purported voter fraud and violence of Ouattara’s force in an interview with the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow:
Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) publically supported Laurent Gbagbo from the floor of the Senate Tuesday afternoon. In a 30-minute speech, Inhofe claimed massive vote fraud took place during the monitored election of the West African nation. The congressman from Oklahoma says France, the United Nations, and the U.S. State Department were instrumental in toppling Gbagbo.
“They rigged the election, [they] stole the election, and then they sided with…the Muslim rebels from up north to come in and try to seize control, which they’ve now done, of the government in Ivory Coast in Abidjan,” the lawmaker tells OneNewsNow.
Forces loyal to Ivory Coast U.N.-sanctioned president Alassane Ouattara on April 6 stormed the presidential palace of incumbent leader Gbagbo, who has refused to cede power.
“[The rebels] killed thousands of people; they tortured the Gbagbos,” says Inhofe. “We’re now trying our best to get some kind of an arrangement where they can get either an exile to a country or something — [we’re] trying to save their lives.”