Donald Trump is being attacked for not correcting a supporter who claims President Obama is a Muslim. But very few Republican candidates or many in the mainstream American news media have demanded the same of other candidates. Trump may not be John McCain, but he is no different than most of the Republicans running for president. So why only attack Trump?
By Ray Hanania
This week we saw two major examples of hypocrisy in the American presidential election campaign.
Donald Trump was being attacked for failing to respond to a supporter who criticized Muslims. It literally is leading the national news and cable news reporting.
At least one of his supporters, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, is being attacked as “anti-Semitic” for questioning why the Republican candidates in the recent CNN debate focused so much on “supporting Israel” rather than on what they would do to help “Americans.”
But don’t think that the media, Republican candidates or mainstream Americans have found a conscience on the issue of Muslim-bashing, anti-Arab racism or objectivity in the Middle East. That’s not what this is about.
There are 11 major candidates running for the Republican nomination as president of the United States and three major Democrats whose names are still in flux. But the media is fixated on Donald Trump who is leading in the polls for the Republican Party nomination.
One CNN Anchor blared loudly, and with breathtaking excitement at the top of a recent CNN news hour on Friday, “Donald Trump is in a new crisis and has come under widespread criticism for failing to contradict a man at his rally who denounced Muslims.”
The media immediately compared Trump to Senator John McCain, who in 2011 scolded supporters who claimed “Obama is a Muslim” during one of his campaign rallies.
But that was four years ago, the last time a leading Republican stood up and scolded anyone for racism and bigotry, and the mainstream news media took notice.
Since then, Trumps Republican rivals have been bashing Obama, bashing Muslims, bashing Arabs, and there hasn’t been one word from the suddenly shocked mainstream American news media, or from Trump’s rivals.
Only one candidate spoke out, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who has a large Muslim voter base. Pure politics, but the reason for doing the right thing is often not that important as just doing the right.
This controversy isn’t about principle or civil rights. It is about the hatred of Donald Trump. And if these hypocrites can use Islamophobia and anti-Arab racism as an opportunity to bring Trump down, they will. At least for now and until they push him away from the head of the presidential race, which polls show Trump leading with more than 44 percent.
Trump created a quagmire in American politics, one that has brought liberals and conservatives together. The mainstream American political and media establishment that controls the elections by managing the debate, have been working hard to take Trump out so they can get back to what they want, a race between candidates they love.
They are using everything they can to tear him down, including their usual weapon, hypocrisy, unprincipled bias and double standards in their coverage of the candidates.
For example, this week, two issues surfaced in the media. The first was the Twitter rants of Tea Party conservative Ann Coulter who questioned Trump’s critics as being too focused on Israel instead of being focused on Americans.
The other, was when Donald Trump supposedly didn’t silence a campaign supporter who bashed Muslims and Arabs.
The media attacked Coulter, because she is a Trump supporter. Coulter has made vicious comments in the past about Muslims and the media has not made those comments major campaign issues.
The media could have, but they haven’t.
And, the mainstream news media has not made the racist, bigoted comments of the other Republican candidates against Muslims and Arabs an issue either.
But they are picking on Trump, suddenly pretending to care about discrimination? Come on people. Don’t be fooled.
The media and the Republican establishment don’t really care about Trump’s anti-Muslim and anti-Arab leanings because they are the primary conveyors of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hatred, racism and bigotry in America.
A Trump supporter said the biggest challenge facing America are “Muslims.” Trump didn’t repeat it but he did sympathize with the voter, saying the issue is something Americans are thinking about and tried to move the discussion to something else.
The news media sells anti-Muslim and anti-Arab hatred everyday. It’s a staple of their media coverage. It is the foundation of rightwing Republican rhetoric that the media has ignored. And it is something that many Americans tolerate without a protest.
This certainly wasn’t a “John McCain moment,” but it is far from the Muslim or Arab bashing that has come to symbolize both the mainstream news media and many quarters of the Republican and Democratic Party and its candidates.
Politicians pander to hatred in different ways. They do it all the time.
The issue isn’t Donald Trump, or the ugliness of Muslim or Arab bashing. It’s about tearing down Trump plain and simple.
Donald Trump may not be John McCain. But is Donald Trump really the story when it comes to racism, bigotry and hatred in this country?
I would love to see how many – or how few – American public officials and candidates from both the Republican and Democratic Party would sign a statement that denounces anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism.
They would be far less than a majority.
Donald Trump not berating a supporter:
Trump was at a campaign rally this week when a man wearing a Trump T-Shirt said: “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even American.”
Trump responded by saying, “We need this question.”
The man continued, “We have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”
Trump responded, “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. You know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there.”
Ann Coulter on Twitter on the Jews:
Rightwing columnist and Tea Party activist Ann Coulter, also a Trump supporter, criticized Republican candidates for ganging up on Trump during the CNN debate this week.
Notorious for bashing Muslims, Islam and Arabs herself, in the most racist and bigoted terms, Coulter took her frustration to Twitter with these Tweets:
“Good grief! Huckabee is running for PM of Israel.”
“Cruz, Huckabee Rubio all mentioned ISRAEL in their response to: “What will AMERICA look like after you are president.”
“How to get applause from GOP donors: 1) Pledge to start a war 2) Talk about job creators 3) Denounce abortion 4) Cite Reagan 5) Cite Israel.”
The Tweet that caused the most trouble for Coulter is this one, denounced as anti-Semitic:
“How many F-ing Jews do these people think there are in the United States?
John McCain pushing back against the Muslim issue in 2011:
At a Lakeville, Minnesota campaign forum in May 2011, McCain was immediately confronted by people in the audience who claimed Obama was a Muslim. It wasn’t one comment from one supporter, as it was with Trump. It was many comments and McCain was compelled to address the issue before the worst comments were made and reported by the media.
“I want to be president of the United States and obviously I do not want Senator Obama to be. I have to tell you that he is a decent person and person that you don’t have to be scared as president of the United States,” McCain began.
McCain was booed by the audience, prompting him to add, “If I didn’t think I wouldn’t be one heck of a better president, I wouldn’t be running, ok?”
At that point, he handed the microphone to an elderly woman who said, “I can’t trust Obama. I have read about him and he is not, he is not … he is, ah, ah … he’s an Arab.”
McCain took the microphone back, and responded, “No. No ma’am. He is a decent family man, citizen, that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. And that is what this campaign is all about.”
Quotes bashing Muslims/Arabs by Republicans and others:
Mike Huckabee is considered the most racist of the anti-Arab and anti-Muslim politicians, but he’s not alone. Huackabee accused Muslim Americans as wanting to “Obliterate America,” has attacked Muslim repeatedly. There was no outcry from the liberal or Conservative media, or his republican rivals when he attacked Obama saying, “Everything he does is against what Christians stand for, and he’s against the Jews in Israel. The one group of people that can know they have his undying, unfailing support would be the Muslim community.”
In July, Senator Rick Santorum retweeted a tweet from a follower who said “Not a surprise when a Muslim president does what Iran wants. I bet they have his real birth certificate.” At a campaign rally in 2012, Santorum listened as a supporter denounced Obama as a Muslim, ignored the comment and said, “Well look, I’m doing my best to get him (Obama) out of the government right now.”
Past Republican Party leaders thrived on anti-Muslim hate, including former House Speaker and one-time presidential candidate Newt Gingrich who described “Sharia Law” in the 2011 campaign “a mortal threat to the survival of America.” He was referring to claims that Sharia Law was being imposed in Dearborn, which has a large Arab population.
When Murfreesboro, Tennessee residents rose in opposition to building a Mosque in their community, Republican Presidential contender and businessman Herman Cain said he supported them.
Cain and Gingrich also both supporter proposals to impose a “test” for Muslims to prove loyalty to America.
Senator Rand Paul in October 2013 spent most of his time in 1 9 minute speech talking about Muslims and how they wanted to destroy American because it is Christian. He has advocated greater scrutiny of Muslims at airports.
Senator Ted Cruz has repeatedly attacked Muslims, Sharia Law and even told American Christian Arabs that if they criticize Israel then they are “anti-Semitic” and he wouldn’t support them.
When Senator Lindsey Graham was confronted by a supporter who said Muslims are a threat, he cut him off but he defended the man’s right to express himself. But he was quick to denounce Obama for not admitting America “is in a Holy War” with Islam.
During a visit to England, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal warned that he would not allow America to implement “no-go-zones” where Sharia Law is in force against non-Muslims, claiming the pro-Islamic bias was on its way to the United States. There are no “no-go-zones” in England, despites Jindal’s ranting. Jindal also warned of “unassimilated” Muslim populations in America.
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio last month hinted at supporting restrictions on Muslim student visas entering the United States.
When Republican Oklahoma State Senator John Bennett last September called American Muslims “a cancer in our nation that needs to be cut out,” none of the Republican presidential candidates, let alone Oklahoma’s U.S. Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford demanded that he apologize or resign office.
In 2011, U.S. Congressman Gary Miller told a gathering of anti-Muslim racists – protestors held up signs calling Mohammed a child molester and claiming American Muslims were terrorists – defended the protestors. Miller said he was “proud” to speak to their gathering.
Many Democratic Congressmen have also introduced legislation to prevent Americans from receiving federal funding for their activities if they support “boycotting” Israel in support of Palestinian and Arab rights.
The candidates for President:
Republican Candidates for President:
Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, John Kasich, George Pataki, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum.
Democratic Candidates for President:
Lincoln Chafee, Hillary Clinton, Lawrence Lessig, Martin O’Malley, Bernie Sanders, Jim Webb.