It was the lack of extreme Islamophobic rhetoric that made Ted Cruz look marginally better than his Republican presidential rival Donald Trump. However, it now seems the Texas senator has even lost that particular edge by bringing a renowned hate-mongering Islamophobe into his fold — or onto his national security team, to be precise.
The White House hopeful recently unveiled his foreign policy advisory board and the first name on the crazy 23-member coalition list to pop out was Frank Gaffney, a former Reagan era Pentagon official who now heads the Center for Security Policy. His center, which is more or less a think tank promoting conspiratorial theories against Muslims, is dubbed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which also describes Gaffney as “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes.”
Not only is the new Cruz adviser a prominent anti-Islam activist who has been spinning fanatical theories for years, but he is also the man who created a false survey suggesting many U.S. Muslims were willing to use violence against other Americans and wanted the option to be governed by Sharia.
Ironically, Trump later used the very same survey to justify his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the country.
Apart from banging the birther drum and checking the “Obama might be a secret Muslim” conspiracy box, the 62-year-old is perhaps most famous for accusing Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and President Obama of having connections to Muslim Brotherhood, a group supposedly infiltrating the U.S. government at high levels.
Although a few years ago, the Republican Party almost severed ties with Gaffney, he somehow managed to stage a comeback. In fact, during one of his group events last year, Cruz praised the Islamophobe for being a patriot who “loves this country” and is very “clear-eyed about radical terrorism.”
Unfortunately, it looks like the senator still stands by those believes, which actually makes him much more dangerous than the boorish billionaire currently leading the GOP polls.
“Our allies are confused and frightened, and our enemies are looking for opportunities,” Cruz said in a statement announcing his team, where he criticized the two terms of a “failed Obama-Clinton foreign policy.”
“This is the moment for all those who believe in a strong America that is secure at home and respected abroad,” he added.
Among the notable picks are Elliott Abrams, who was an assistant secretary of state in the Reagan administration along with three of Gaffney’s colleagues at the Center for Security Policy — including former CIA officers Fred Fleitz and Clare Lopez as well as former Army Special Forces Master Sergeant Jim Hanson.
These appointments might have perturbed many, but they have also made one thing abundantly clear: the Republican Party, and more importantly Ted Cruz, shares the same offensive rhetoric as Donald Trump.
Just because Cruz is not as vocal (or honest) about it, does not mean he wouldn’t go to any lengths to embrace Islamophobes in an attempt to tap into the racist and extremist base of the conservative party.