March 18, 2016

While everyone has focused on Donald Trump, it's worth taking a moment out to look at Ted Cruz and his current slate of foreign policy advisors, because they're just as terrifying as anything we've seen from Trump.

Chris Hayes reported last night that Cruz's slate of advisors includes extreme Islamophobe Frank Gaffney, and former Bush adviser Michael Ledeen.

Transcript via Media Matters:

CHRIS HAYES (HOST): Today Trump's most serious remaining challenger Ted Cruz released his list of foreign policy advisers.

And it's a -- well, it's a real rogue's gallery of warmongers and bigots, including Elliott Abrams, who pleaded guilty to keeping information from Congress about his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, and Michael Ledeen, another Iran-Contra figure and namesake of the so-called Ladeen Doctrine, and I'm quoting directly here: "Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business."

But by far the worse of the bunch, a guy who has no business anywhere near the corridors of power ever is anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney. The man who the Southern Poverty Law Center described as "one of America's most notorious Islamophobes."

Gaffney believes the Obama administration and large parts of the U.S. government are fronts for the Muslim Brotherhood. Accusing such figures as Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, and Republican anti-tax fanatic Grover Norquist of promoting Sharia law. Gaffney's organization, The Center for Security Policy, is responsible for the bogus poll cited by Donald Trump himself in justifying his proposal to ban Muslims from entering the U.S., an idea that now appears to have gone mainstream in the Republican electorate.

According to exit polls around two thirds of the voters in this past Tuesday's Republican primaries said they support banning Muslims from the country. As Gaffney sees it, Islam is less a religion protected by the First Amendment than a militant political plot to take over the U.S.


MATT DUSS: As you noted Frank Gaffney has been behind so many of these wild conspiracy theories. I mean, we don't have time to list all of the crazy things he's said over the past ten years. And for Ted Cruz to just name him as someone who he takes seriously, I mean, let's understand, this guy's ideas are taken seriously by no one who understands or studies Islam, by no one who studies national security. So it's extremely troubling that Cruz puts him on the list of people he's talking to.

Gaffney was also part of the group I wrote about back in 2013 known as Groundswell. With close ties to Justice Clarence Thomas' wife Ginni, right wing General Jerry Boykin, Allen "Torture is Great" West, and more, it's a rogue's gallery of warmongers, fascists and neocons.

Ignore Ted Cruz at your own peril. Mitt Romney has already fallen into line behind him, along with Lindsey Graham. While Trump may be getting the headlines, Cruz is the one most likely to benefit from a contested convention in July. I wouldn't count him out for a second.

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