Politico: Cruz draws from anti-Islamist fringe (attack piece)

Source: Politico | March 17, 2016 | Michael Crowley

The senator’s foreign-policy team includes advisers with a history of extreme statements.

Ted Cruz’s new team of foreign policy advisers includes several fringe conservative activists and fervid anti-Islamist hardliners — but few of the GOP establishment elites who are outraged over the rise of Donald Trump.

Cruz’s list of nearly two dozen names includes Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., a former Reagan Pentagon official whose focus on the influence of Islam in the U.S. has drawn charges of bigotry. In June 2009, Gaffney claimed there was “mounting evidence” that President Barack Obama “not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.” The next year Gaffney repeated a blogger’s claim that the new official logo for a Pentagon missile defense agency “appears ominously to reflect a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo.” The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Gaffney “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes.”

Cruz’s list features three other members of Gaffney’s think tank, the Center for Security Policy, whose home page on Thursday featured an article titled, “An Islamic Revolution in America?”

“It’s the foreign policy version of nativism,” said one person who held several senior posts in the George W. Bush administration. This person, who considers himself a moderate, described several people on Cruz’s team as marginal figures and said he was “amazed” by the presence of Gaffney and others like him.

Other Cruz advisers likewise warn that Islam is making sinister gains within the U.S. One is William G. “Jerry” Boykin, a retired lieutenant general who was rebuked by President George W. Bush when, as a Pentagon official in 2003, he gave a speech framing the war on terror as a battle between Christianity and Islam. Now an ordained minister, Boykin has said that Islam obliges its followers “to destroy our Constitution” and therefore does not merit full First Amendment protections.

Another is Andrew McCarthy, a former federal attorney who led the prosecution of the 1993 World Trade Center bombers. McCarthy is the author of the 2010 book, The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America.

Cruz himself has made the threat of radical Islam a centerpiece of his campaign, and often attacks President Barack Obama for declining to use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism.” Obama generally seeks to avoid talking about terrorism in religious terms for fear of alienating moderate Muslims.

“We need to take off the blinders of political correctness that prevent us from seeing what is right in front of us,” Cruz said in a December speech at the Heritage Foundation. “That enemy is radical Islamic terrorism and it is trying to destroy our country and our way of life.”

Notably absent from Cruz’s advisory team are key members of the Republican foreign policy establishment…..


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