What a surprise that one Republican presidential candidate’s refusal last week to correct a town hall questioner who claimed that President Obama is a Muslim led to another candidate insisting that no Muslim should ever become president of the United States.
All in all, the last few days haven’t been very good for the GOP’s efforts to “rebrand” as a welcoming and inclusive party. Here are five lowlights from the GOP’s deeply bigoted week:
1) Religious Freedom For Some…
Donald Trump took heat on Friday for refusing to correct a man who, in a question to the Republican presidential frontrunner at a New Hampshire town hall meeting, blasted American Muslims and claimed that the president is a Muslim. With a typical lack of repentance, Trump later insisted that he was under no obligation to denounce the man’s statement.
But while Trump merely failed to correct the New Hampshire man’s anti-Muslim theories, Trump’s rival, Ben Carson, one-upped him by actively embracing an extreme anti-Muslim message. In an interview on Meet the Press on Sunday, Carson said that he doesn’t believe a Muslim should ever become president because Islam is “inconsistent with the values and principles of America.”
Not to be outdone, Trump told Meet the Press after Carson’s interview that while he wasn’t sure about his position on the U.S. having a Muslim president, “some people have said it already happened.”
Carson later told The Hill that he believes presidents should be “sworn in on a stack of Bibles, not a Koran,” adding that Muslims believe that their faith “encourages you to lie to achieve your goals.” He also warned of the prospect of a Muslim president imposing Sharia law because “Muslims feel that their religion is very much a part of your public life and what you do as a public official, and that’s inconsistent with our principles and our Constitution.”
“He has great respect for the Muslim community, but there is a huge gulf between the faith and practice of the Muslim faith, and our Constitution and American values,” Carson’s campaign said in a statement.
Such rhetoric is par for the course for Carson, possibly the most conspiracy-theory-minded candidate in the race, who is campaigning on his belief that America is turning into Nazi Germany as a result of a Marxist-Leninist-Alinskyite plot to literally enslave Americans.
Despite his suggestion that millions of Americans are disloyal and sinister members of society who should never hold high office because they do not share his faith, Carson nonetheless considers himself to be a staunch defender of religious freedom … but only for the followers of certain religions.
2) Huckabee Homophobia
Two years ago, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus urged party members to “listen to Mike Huckabee” when it comes to discussing issues like gay marriage, calling him “a model for a lot of people in our party.” It was an odd statement, seeing that Huckabee has one of the most virulently anti-gay records out there, which the former Arkansas governor added to on Saturday with a statement alleging that President Obama’s pick for Secretary of the Army was only nominated because he is gay and the president only cares about “appeasing America’s homosexuals.”
Surely his decades of experience with the armed forces, including his past as deputy undersecretary of the Navy and acting Secretary of the Air Force, had nothing do with his nomination!
3) ‘Unnatural’ Gay Marriage Still Unlawful
Rick Santorum is a bit late to the game in trying to use the Kim Davis saga as proof that Christians are under attack in America. Santorum, who during Wednesday’s CNN debate likened Davis to a young student who was misreported to have been shot by a Columbine shooter for being a Christian, doubled down on his defense of the anti-gay Kentucky clerk on Thursday, insisting that gay marriage can never be recognized as legal since “the Supreme Court’s decision goes against the natural law.”
“That’s not the way nature functions,” Santorum said of homosexuality. “So as a result of that, I think Kim Davis and everybody else has the obligation to oppose it.”
4) Cruz Mainstreams Radical Gun Group
No one seems to have batted an eye during the CNN debate when Ted Cruz touted the endorsement of a far-right gun activist group whose leader has ties to the white supremacist movement, openly threatens members of Congress and pushes so many conspiracy theories that it would make Ben Carson blush.
In saying that he was “honored” to have received the support of Gun Owners of America, Cruz put himself to the right of Pat Buchanan, who got so much flak for his ties to GOA head Larry Pratt during his 1996 presidential campaign that he dropped him from his campaign leadership team.
That’s right, even Pat Buchanan was embarrassed to have Pratt’s support.
5) Sarah Palin Brave Enough To Call A 14-Year-Old A Terrorist
Anti-Muslim activists are incensed that school and police officials in Irving, Texas, have faced sharp criticism for arresting a Muslim student for bringing the parts of a homemade clock to school, insisting that the teenager had actually built a “half a bomb” or at least something so close in resemblance to a bomb that he should have been taken into custody.
Sarah Palin of course felt the need to weigh in as well. The self-proclaimed explosives expert attacked Obama for inviting the “potential bomb-imitator” to the White House and confirmed that the boy was indeed “suspicious”: “That’s a clock, and I’m the Queen of England.”
The former GOP vice presidential nominee’s daughter Bristol Palin also claimed that Obama’s invitation to the clock-building student foments anger towards the police and “encourages more racial strife that is already going on with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ crowd and encourages victimhood.” She said that Obama’s behavior was “childish,” something that no one would ever expect from the Palin clan.