Trump surrogate Kayleigh McEnany has tried and miserably failed to defend a number of controversial statements by Donald Trump over the course of his presidential campaign. And after the media mogul became the president-elect of the United States, it has become more of a round-the-clock job for her.
But it’s not just limited to clarifying Trump’s comments anymore.
McEnany now also has to defend incendiary rhetoric by the members of the incoming administration, some of who have delivered far more explicit, xenophobic rants than Trump himself.
Case in point: Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who has been chosen as Trump’s national security adviser, once wrote that “fear of Muslims is rational,” and has said that “Islam is a political ideology” and is “like a malignant cancer.”
True to form, McEnany tried to underplay Flynn’s Islamophobia during a panel discussion on “Anderson Cooper 360,” at one point even agreeing with him.
She also said American Muslims don’t need to be afraid of anything — despite the fact that a person who calls their religion “cancer” will advise their next president on important policy decisions.
Fortunately, Iranian-American religious scholar Reza Aslan also appeared on the same show and pointed out to McEnany how ridiculous it was to assume that Flynn’s anti-Islam comments were not dangerous.
The Trump surrogate quoted Andy McCarthy, a National Review columnist, to defend Flynn’s comments labeling Islam as a “political,” not religious, ideology.
She said, citing McCarthy, Islam is “structured differently than typical type Christian religions or Jewish religions.”
Aslan responded by explaining how the logic portrays Islam — and by extension, Muslims — as “different” from other faiths.
“All religions are about not just your faith but about the way you conduct yourself in the world,” Aslan stated. “So, in a way all religions are about ideology however you define that but that’s not what Michael Flynn was saying. Michael Flynn was saying, and it seems you though you may agree with him, that Islam is different, it’s not like other religions, so it has to be treated differently. Not Islamic radicalism, not Islamic extremism but Islam.”
The scholar wrapped up his argument by saying how the only reason Flynn's labeling Islam as a political ideology is to strip Muslims of their religious rights.
“The fact of the matter is that anti-Muslim bigotry has been the hallmark of Donald Trump's campaign throughout,” Aslan added. “And now, he has brought together a cabinet, so far, of people who tend to agree with his views about Islam and about Muslims and that has to be problematic. And again, to this whole constitutional element thing here, it's really just math, Kayleigh. If Islam is not a religion, then Muslims don't get religious rights, period.”