Most major media outlets are reporting that the Iran nuclear deal is, indeed, a done deal. But, although there is virtually nothing he can do to change the situation, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has decided to organize a rally on the Capitol lawn against the deal.
Wednesday’s rally is being co-sponsored by several nativist groups, including Tea Party Patriots, a group that has stridently supported Cruz’s functionally meaningless efforts during his time in Congress. Maybe even more alarmingly, The Center for Security Policy (CSP), the anti-Muslim group headed by conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney – with whom Cruz has troublingly increasingly associated himself – is also co-sponsoring the event.
And yes, Cruz has also enlisted Donald Trump to contribute his signature brand of demagoguery to the day’s proceedings.
And while Cruz and Trump might only be on the stage seeking to bolster their own respective presidential campaigns, other speakers will undoubtedly be there to promote their own anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and thinly-concealed criticisms of Islam and Muslims.
Other speakers will undoubtedly be there to promote their own anti-Muslim conspiracy theories and thinly-concealed criticisms of Islam and Muslims.
Rightfully, there should be room to discuss the merits and nuances of the Iran nuclear deal. However, the organizers of, and the speakers planned for, the rally tomorrow suggest that it will ultimately be a forum for baseless conspiracy and bigotry, not substantive debate.
Despite being ostracized from more mainstream conservative circles in recent years, several Republican presidential candidates, including Cruz, have participated in the three “National Security Action Summits” Gaffney’s organization has hosted in key primary states. At these events Gaffney has continued to purport conspiracy theories that Muslims have infiltrated the U.S. government with the express purpose of harming the country.
In May, CSP released a released a video depicting Iranian mullahs claiming, “We have a friend in the White House.” Gaffney and his colleagues have continually pushed these conspiracies as a means to marginalize American Muslims. Gaffney will speak at tomorrow’s rally and one should reasonably expect these baseless conspiracies to continue.
Brigitte Gabriel, founder and president of anti-Muslim grassroots group ACT! for America, is also slated to speak. As we noted last week, Gabriel will already be on Capitol Hill with her supporters during ACT for America’s annual national conference. Gabriel’s anti-Muslim animus is unequivocal. She has previously claimed that “every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim” and that any Muslim “who believes in the teachings of the Koran, cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States of America.”
Joining Gabriel at the rally and at the ACT! for American conference is alleged anti-Muslim ‘security expert’ Ryan Mauro. Mauro serves as a “National Security Analyst” at the Clarion Project, a group best known for their fear-mongering anti-Muslim film series.
More than a dozen members of Congress will speak to ACT! for America conference attendees tomorrow morning. Unsurprisingly, many of those elected officials including Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ), Steve King (R-IA) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX), will pull double duty and speak at both the ACT! for America conference and the Iran deal rally. Promoting known anti-Muslim demagogues both within and nearby the nation’s Capitol is well-worn territory for King and Gohmert. Both are regulars and ACT for America’s annual conference and went so far as to host virulently anti-Muslim Dutch politician Geert Wilders earlier this year.
With the participation of these individuals, the intent of both ACT’s annual conference and the nearby Iran deal rally is clear.
These speakers lend no particular expertise to discussion about nuclear nonproliferation efforts. They are, however, experts in injecting anti-Muslim rhetoric into public policy discussions.
We must continue to limit the platforms with which they can poison our public discourse.