Extremist Conspiracy Theorist Frank Gaffney Defends His Boss Ted Cruz Over Anti-Muslim Statements

Frank Gaffney, classified as an extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is a senior advisor to Cruz.

Frank Gaffney
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

While Ted Cruz was getting shouted down on Wednesday by Bronx protesters denouncing him as a “right-wing bigot,” his advisor was doubling down on the presidential hopeful’s call to monitor and patrol Muslim neighborhoods modeled after the NYPD’s history of unlawful spying.

Frank Gaffney is a prominent anti-Muslim activist and conspiracy theorist whose far-right think tank, the Center for Security Policy, produced the junk research behind Donald Trump’s proposed ban on non-American Muslims.

In March, Ted Cruz announced that his appointment of Gaffney as a foreign policy advisor, including him on a team of renowned war criminals and anti-Muslim crusaders. Since then, Cruz has been forced to defend the decision, given Gaffney’s inclusion on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s hate list.

Now, it’s Gaffney’s turn to defend Cruz. In a Wednesday interview with host Stephen Bannon of the right-wing Breitbart News Daily, Gaffney was asked whether Ted Cruz had “walked back” his plan of “doing what the NYPD did and starting to monitor Muslim neighborhoods.”

The question was a reference to Cruz’s widely-condemned declaration last month, “We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.”

Gaffney responded with an even more extreme defense of the presidential hopeful, who has prescribed the carpet-bombing of heavily populated urban areas and the favoring of Christian Syrian refugees over their Muslim counterparts.

Gaffney said that Cruz is merely advocating a “common sense” approach. He continued: “It shouldn’t be the case that there are some areas of cities, or other parts of our country, that are off-limits to authorities, that are places that are known to… well, primarily to be dominated by folks who are engaged in a practice that is anti-Constitutional and hostile to the values of our country. Specifically, those who are seeking to impose a program they call sharia.”

The threat of sharia, he claimed, is not a “hypothetical construct.” Gaffney continued, “This is what we are seeing now—tolerated, ignored, accommodated for years in Europe, and now there are parts of the United States where it is beginning to manifest itself as well.”

Gaffney is infamous for generating conspiracy theories of a “Muslim Brotherhood” takeover of the U.S. government. In fact, he was barred from the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference for accusing numerous right-wing leaders of direct ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. He has hurled similar accusations at Hillary Clinton.

Now, Gaffney appears to be ratcheting up his fear-mongering rhetoric.

Given his remarks, it is worth revisiting what residents and protesters said when Cruz paid a visit to the Bronx:

“Ted Cruz has no business being in the Bronx!” declared Gonzalo Venegas of the hip-hop duo Rebel Díaz. “This is an immigrant community. We deal with climate change every single day, and he wants to say that it doesn’t exist. We live in one of the poorest congressional districts in the country. And to receive this right-wing bigot is an insult to the whole community."

Sarah Lazare is a staff writer for AlterNet. A former staff writer for Common Dreams, she coedited the book About Face: Military Resisters Turn Against War. Follow her on Twitter at @sarahlazare.

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