Trump Pledges to “Look into” Paranoid Charges of Muslim-American Terror camps

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

Donald Trump has probably benefited so far from giving long stemwinders of a speech on the hustings, saying enough outrageous things in each one to inflict on journalists information overload. He got away with a lot of awful statements because journalists only had room to focus on the top horrible thing he said each day. The format, moreover, made his fans and followers invisible.

On Thursday, Trump in Rochester, NH, tried out a town hall format and took unfiltered oral questions from the audience. And that his audience was full of people who are not entirely well became quickly apparent.

The first person up with a question felt about American Muslims the way Goebbels felt about German Jews:

MAN: “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.”

TRUMP: “We need this question. This is the first question.”

MAN: “Anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”

TRUMP: “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. We’re going to be looking at that and many other things.”

CNN: ” Trump fields anti-Muslim question at town hall”

The corporate media focused more on the statements about Obama and Trump’s unwillingness to challenge them than on the demand for ethnic cleansing of millions of US citizens. They even twisted themselves in pretzels with their headlines about Trump “failing to challenge” the man. That allegation is an abject lie, since Trump very clearly reacted to the charge with approval by saying that “we need” this question.

Trump didn’t fail to do anything. To fail is to attempt an endeavor and not succeed. Trump didn’t attempt. Trump approved of what the man said about Obama, obviously amused and excited, and said “we need this question.” Sane persons would have said the opposite. Trump’s campaign team lamely attempted to spin the shameful performance by saying that Trump didn’t hear the opening remarks on President Obama. But that allegation is refuted by the video clip itself.

More important than the birther allegations is that Trump accepted the premise of the man that Muslim-Americans might be conducting terrorist training camps on US soil for the purpose of training to kill Americans, and that a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Americans of Muslim faith is required (“get rid of”). He promised to look into the issue.

Journalist James Fallows of The Atlantic Monthly tweeted,

Fallows put his finger on the issue. 1. Trump declined to argue with the man, and, indeed, complimented him on asking a question that “we need.” This sentiment is wholly unlike the different choice that Sen. John McCain made in 2008 when he shut down a lady claiming that Obama is an “Arab” Muslim. 2. Trump actively joined the man in his dangerous paranoid illusion, promising for all the world like J. Edgar Hoover or Sen. Joseph McCarthy to launch an investigation “of that and other things”.

And neither of these two responses would be acceptable if the man had named “Jews” or “Buddhists” or “African-Americans” as the object of his persecution complex.

American citizens of Muslim faith have been responsible for almost no terrorism, and even if we threw in the non-citizen residents, are ‘way outpaced by white supremacists over the past century (white bigots lynched thousands of African Americans under Jim Crow, which is terrorism in my book).

The corporate media has focused on Trump’s outrageous attacks on Mexican-American immigrants but seldom noted that he also warns against allowing Muslims in to the US.

In an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network, Trump was was asked about his interview on Fox’s Bill O’Reilly in which he had alleged that there is a “Muslim problem:”

“Donald Trump warns of the Muslim Problem”

In the CBN interview he said:

TRUMP: “Absolutely, yes. In fact I went a step further. I said I didn’t see Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center.

And by the way, many, many, most Muslims are wonderful people, but is there a Muslim problem? Look what’s happening. Look what happened right here in my city with the World Trade Center and lots of other places.”

. . . I mean I could have said, ‘Oh, absolutely not Bill [O’Reilly], there’s no Muslim problem, everything is wonderful, just forget about the World Trade Center.’ But you have to speak the truth. We’re so politically correct that this country is falling apart.

. . . The Qur’an is very interesting. A lot of people say it teaches love. But there’s something there that teaches some very negative vibe … Now I don’t know if that’s from the Quran. I don’t know if that’s from someplace else. But there’s tremendous hatred out there that I’ve never seen anything like it.”

h/t the Political Insider

What Trump means by a “Muslim problem” is that he believes them to be peculiarly violent. I have pointed out that if anything it is persons of Christian, European heritage who have been peculiarly violent in the past 150 years. In 1870-71 you have the war between Germany and France. Then you have the Paris Commune. in 1881 France takes Tunisia. In 1882 Britain militarily conquers Egypt. Belgium takes the Congo and polishes off half of its 16 million population over time. In 1898 the US conquers the Philippines and goes on to kill thousands to subdue it. Then in WW I Europeans help rub out most of the 11 million people killed in that war. Then there are revolutions and upheavals and the rise of Franco (yes, a Christian) and the Spanish Civil War, and Mussolini and the brutal repression of Libyans and the Germans using Namibians for machine gun target practice and then WW II and the deaths of 65 million, most of them at the hands of European Christians.

Trump is just a rich white racialist bigot and enjoys bullying people he thinks inferior. And that seems to be what a significant proportion of Republicans want.

17 Responses

  1. Your last sentence hits the nail on the head. It’s the nature of his candidacy that the more shock and disgust the party or media establishment experess over his statements, the more he will rise in popularity. How would his brand of populism play out in a general election? I am starting to worry we may have a chance to find out. But then too, we are still early in the cycle.

  2. Rochester NH is a funny depressed quasi hillbilly town. I lived near there and found it to be the butt of local jokes.

    French Canadians there had a KKK chapter and had to get a special waiver from Klan Central to not hate themselves, (Catholics).

    The Klan needed the dues money and went along with it. Trump couldn’t have picked a better batch of bigots in the whole state.

  3. “Thought exprimnt: imagine Q with “Jews,” “Asians,” “blacks” etc & he doesn’t respond.”

    I believe this is meant as a way of chastising the selective blindness of the media. But it is also, and perhaps even more significantly, a way for Trump to use this blindness to say what people really want to hear. “Moslems” is a cover term for the subhuman enemy, defined by intrinsic evil and an enmity toward all good things, accompanied by a burning desire to take them away from us. That is…. Jews, Asians, Blacks, Immigrants, Liberals, Yankees, whoever.

    Trump displaces the focus of hatred from one set of targets to another target that is right next to them. His listeners have no trouble grasping the intent.

  4. A related problem is the labeling of people with these ideas as “crazy” because it separates them out from the “normal” and “rationale, making them appear to be part of a lunatic fringe. However, poll after poll has proven that they’re not part of some tiny minority of Americans. 30% of the general public believes that Obama is a Muslim. A new poll suggests that more 50% of Republicans hold that belief after years of counter-evidence. I don’t have any doubts that there is a high correlation between these folks and the Birther movement too.

    I think you’re right to argue that the birther allegations cannot be separated out from anti-Muslim bias. The continuing belief that Obama is a Muslim and not American has everything to do with their belief that Obama is too sympathetic to Muslims (which is rich considering the largely negative American role in the Muslim world over the past 6 years). If he was rounding them all up in camps, the Birther movement would fizzle out.

    • It’s not even that they think Obama is too sympathetic to Moslems. It’s that they will make themselves believe whatever they have to in order to cross the Rubicon of risk in physically destroying their enemies. So they start from the premise that their enemies are trying to destroy them and then make up whatever conspiracies they need to connect those enemies together into a threat large enough to justify violent “self-defense”. Blacks and Moslems MUST be tied together into one enemy army, along with gays and Mexicans. Obama MUST be the leader of that army, because that will justify the action of taking over the government, cynically rewriting laws so that whites can never be outvoted by blacks, de facto mandating a one-party state, and terminating the citizenship of broad swathes of the population.

      All of that, outlandish as it seems, is the only political alternative to sharing power with growing non-white populations. Nothing else works. So they must believe ridiculous things.

  5. At first, Donald Trump was a silly sideshow at the American political circus, the never-ending “electoral process” foisted by corporate-controlled media to stuff viewers minds with distraction, malinformation and total bu!!$#¡†.

    Of late, this accidentally wealthy, repeatedly bankrupt egomaniac bully has begun to take himself seriously and now features a persona much akin to many 20th Century overtly racist, hate-mongering pilonidal abscesses on the @$$ of world history. His vicious xenophobic media-borne swagger may well sway others weak of mind to physically act upon the lunacy he now openly personifies and spews.

    Much amplified by media, Trump has morphed into a racist bad clown appealing to the absolute worst aspects of our educationally diminished, media-blinded, low information minority of nativist citizens.

    Without any doubt, Trump has actively and glibly yanked the parasite and vermin-infested rotting corpse of blind h8 from it’s shallow grave in many parts of our country.

    The current Republican Party, to remain remotely relevant, must get busy and rebury the unAmerican putidity a ridicules media charlatan and political vandal named Donald Trump has so stupidly resurrected in THEIR name.

  6. Christian-European violence goes back much more than 150 years – at least to the Crusades – and with the likes of Trump and his questioner will continue for many more. While we are at it, let’s not forget those good christians in the Bush2 administration responsible for the deaths and other forms of destroyed lives if hundreds of thousands of people in the Middle East.

  7. I read that 10 percent of physicians in the U.S. are Muslims. I wonder how many Americans are cared for and how many of them are protected from illness and death everyday by these 20 thousand American Muslim physicians.
    I am an American Muslim and was born and raised in the U.S. I am concerned for my children and grandchildren. May God help us all around the world and all our progeny. Ameen.

  8. Many, particularly Westerners, are detached from first hand reality. reality once extensively shared in response to climate and the seasons, even by those who lived in towns and cities. Today Westerners’ emotional responses are second hand and media generated, with the inevitable calculation that implies. This means that their emotional responses are provoked to order which is one definition of entertainment. A good example is the recent picture of Aylan Kurdi’s body washed up on a beach which appears likely to have been staged to sway public opinion link to observers.france24.com . The fact that the boy was a migrant and did drown is not enough to justify the dimension of emotion evoked by the picture. This is the world that allows people to cling to erroneous beliefs and encourages them to get passionately worked up over fantasies.

  9. Juan: That stupid lady who confronted McCain in 2008 did not refer to Obama as an “‘Arab’ Muslim”, as you kind of report. She thought he was an “Arab”-period. She didn’t know the difference between an Arab and a Muslim (like many Americans, some of whom even bash Sikhs(!) thinking they are Muslims. Just for your future ref.

  10. The US is starting to remind me of Weimar Germany. After a lost war and economic turmoil, a demagogue blames all the nation’s troubles on foreign plots and ethnic minorities. Against a backdrop of flags and reverence for the armed forces the claim is made the nation can be made great again. All it will take is resolute action to force other nations to accept their place in the world.

  11. Have you seen the segment of Lewis Black promoting Trump back in 2011. On the Daily Show. Classic

  12. To all the people on this site who kept claiming there was no difference between the Republicans and Democrats:

    1. I told you the GOP was much worse than what you’d seen
    2. You’re cowards who believed whatever would justify you washing your hands of democracy and not having to risk your lives against what the Republicans will become
    3. I also said that many of you hate the USA so much that you wanted it to fall apart so rule could be re-localized, and I warned that it would be armed far-right racist extremists who would win in every corner of the land.

    But that will not be the end of the war. They will be defeated after many years, but the victors will recall that you made the war possible by prioritizing peace over equality.

  13. Doctor Ben Carson joins the cheap-shot-spin extreme right-wing candidate fray with “”I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

    What corporate-controlled media dog whistle is attached to our current twice-elected President?

    Doc Carson also said “Islam, as a religion, is incompatible with the Constitution.” Substitute “Catholicism,” for example, with “Islam” and see what you get? Confusing theocracy with a specific religion is uneducated and panders to many of the worst aspects of volatile nativist America.

    Apparently, the political advice being spoon-fed to Doctor Carson is incompatible with reality and very unAmerican. The President is not “in-charge” per se, he is a component of a trilogy of powers which by our Constitution are specifically divided between Congress, our court(s) system and the Executive Branch.

    And how about this for a “Doc Carsonesque” cheap-shot? – No far right-wing Republican We-Got-One-Too, impossibly polite, Wanna-be Oligarch who can prescribe powerful psychoactive meds should be put in charge of this nation.

    Doctor Carson, much like his xenophobic reactionary co-candidate Donald Trump, is clearly not of Presidential quality.

  14. Abraham Lincoln, 1855:

    “As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty – to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

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