With Marco Rubio’s exit from the GOP race, the world is now faced with the reality that either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz are just a step away from the White House. The unending wave of nasty rhetoric coupled with the rise in violent incidents surrounding Trump have garnered him a disproportionate amount of the airtime and due to a fear of Trump’s candidacy, Ted Cruz suddenly seems palatable to the Republican establishment. He has now garnered high-profile endorsements from Senator Lindsey Graham and former Presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina and represents for many – the last hope of a “conservative” candidate to save the party in this election. But the facts remain – Ted Cruz is the most radical candidate in the field. Don’t believe me? Check out his new advisor on national security: Frank Gaffney.
Engine Behind the Islamophobia Industry
When the conversation on Islamophobia in America is brought up, many think of headline grabbing publicity artists like Pamela Geller or Robert Spencer. But if you want to know who is arguably the most dangerous figure in the spread of anti-Muslim sentiment, look no further than Gaffney. The former Reagan-administration official has rebranded himself over the years, shifting his paranoia from Cold War communism to conspiracy theories about an impending Muslim Brotherhood takeover in DC.
A few facts about Gaffney and his extremism:
- He has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group leader. This is a recent development, as the SPLC historically referred to Gaffney as a notable figure in Islamophobia, or one of the industry’s “inner circle.” However, his activities – along with his organization, Center for Security Policy over the years which have helped drive public opinion against Muslims have resulted in being tagged with a hate-group label. Mind you, this is one of the most well-respected organizations in civil rights, who has given him this moniker, alongside Pamela Geller, Brigitte Gabriel, and members of the white supremacist movement.
- His influence inside the Beltway has made him one of the driving forces behind legislative Islamophobia in the U.S. Over 30 anti-Sharia bills have been introduced in state legislatures across the U.S. The primary author of these “cut and paste” bills is attorney David Yerushalmi, who is employed by Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy. The bills have helped further demonize Islam, introducing the word “sharia” into the lexicon through a negative lens. A version of the bill introduced in Tennessee would have made the practice of Islam punishable by up to 20 years in prison. There is now a movement to take this to the federal level, as well as anti-sharia verbiage used in the 2012 GOP platform.
- Gaffney advanced the conspiracy theory that President Obama was born in Kenya, and that he was an operative of the Muslim Brotherhood. He has also been integral in attempting to smear and discredit Muslims who participate in public life, such as Huma Abedin. He has also suggested that GOP operative Grover Norquist is a stealth Muslim Brotherhood operative, due to the fact that he is married to an Arab.
- Due to his extremist views, he was actually disinvited from an influential weekly luncheon with DC power players. In recent years, he was blocked from speaking at the CPAC main stage due to his immersion in baseless conspiracy theories.
- As published in the CAIR’s 2013 Islamophobia Report – Legislating Fear, it shows that Gaffney makes roughly $300,000 yearly to spread his whacky conspiracy theories and advance Islamophobic rhetoric. His organization has received over $7 Million – that’s Seven Million Dollars from other organizations in the Islamophobia network.
- Not only is Gaffney the beneficiary of huge sums of Islamophobia Industry money, but his organization also promotes and gives grants to other industry outfits such as the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Organizations like this advance Gaffney’s agenda, under the guise of coming from a Muslim perspective. They have supported oppressive policies such as NYPD’s Muslim Surveillance program, the Oklahoma anti-sharia bill, and most recently an immigration ban on Muslims entering the U.S.
This just scratches the surface as to the level of influence (and bigotry) that someone like Gaffney wields.
Gaffney’s role in his campaign is a testimony as to just how deeply entrenched Ted Cruz is with the key influential figures in the Islamophobia Industry. Here he is speaking at arch-Islamophobe David Horowitz’ Restoration Weekend conference in 2013. Also, vicious bigot and hate group leader Pamela Geller seems to like him as well. And there’s that other advisor as well.
Five Star General of Hate
Ted Cruz also appointed Retired Lt. General Jerry Boykin to his national security team as well. Haven’t heard of Jerry Boykin? Let me refresh your memory.
- Boykin is a mainstay on the Islamophobia Industry and far-right Christian speaking circuit. He has often made inflammatory remarks about Islam and Muslims, once likening Islam to “satan” when he served as Deputy Underecretary of Intelligence in the Bush administration.
- He has appeared on right-wing extremist Bryan Fischer’s talk show, stating that there should be “no mosques in America.” He also added that Muslims are not subject to First Amendment rights, because “Islam is not a religion.”
- Boykin also holds extreme pro-gun views, stating that “Jesus is returning to earth with an AR-15 assault rifle.”
Cruz has given audiences a preview of just how extreme his administration would be. When speaking to an Iowa audience before the caucus, he got turned to the topic of military action against ISIS. “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark. But we’re sure going to find out.” – referring to possible usage of nuclear or indiscriminate carpet bombing. Evoking images of sand, was clearly a ploy at riling up his base at fighting what they consider an existential war against desert peoples.
On the subject of Israeli aggression against the Palestinians, Cruz co-sponsored the Senate resolution justifying Operation Protective Edge, which eventually killed over 2,000 Palestinians. Even though he has no power to do so, he continually states that he would “declare Jerusalem the eternal capitol of Israel” on his first day in office. This is clearly aimed at resonating with a base that relishes the dehumanization of Arabs and Muslims, as evidenced by this posting by a purported Cruz supporter.
A Cruz Presidency
What would a Cruz presidency look like if is being officially advised by two of the most prominent figures in the Islamophobia Industry? You would likely see the likes of Gaffney continue to advance his quixotic Muslim Brotherhood fantasy to take punitive action against mainstream Muslim groups and individuals. Remember, he believes that Huma Abedin, Grover Norquist, Obama, basically every Muslim organization is part of this conspiracy. And there’s already legislative movement in the House that has been influenced by his paranoia.
Cruz vows to shred the Iran Deal on his first day in office. If elected, you would likely see the “bomb-Iran” hype machine return to overdrive. With advisors like Boykin, and an ultra-hawkish pro-Israel stance there would appear very little barrier to advancing such a conflict.