A weekend of violent incidents in the United States brought the issue of terrorism back to center stage as alleged terrorist attacks in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota left dozens of victims injured, although none fatally.
Pipe bombs detonated in the East Coast states and a man wielding a knife in a mall in St. Cloud have not yet been linked together, nor has a motive been found for any of the incidents, but the fact that suspects in all events appear to be of Muslim faith and born outside of the US has numerous officials and politicians claiming the attacks were spurred by ISIS.
With a new excuse to double down on Islamophobia, the GOP is taking advantage of the recent events to push back against allowing refugees into the country, and ratcheting up their anti-Muslim rhetoric along the way.
With a potential terrorist attack arriving just in time to take the pressure off of Trump over his failure to release his tax returns or the fact that he essentially called on his rival Hillary Clinton’s secret service team to stop protecting her from danger, Trump is now back on solid ground. “Radical Islamic extremists” is his sweet spot on the campaign trail, and there is nothing he enjoys more than fear mongering up the right to make them believe they are moments from being killed by terrorists unless Trump wins the race and can protect them.
What has been lost in his diatribe is the fact that the only person dead from this weekend’s attacks was the Somali man who had the knife in the Mall, and he died only because he was killed by a part-time, off duty officer who owns a gun range and teaches “decision shooting” to law enforcement officials for a living. Also being glossed over is that while ISIS took credit for both attacks, there is as of yet no proof that there was coordination or that they had any interaction with either man.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Trump from returning to his push to block Muslims from entering the country, or at the very least doing more extensive “profiling” before they enter.
“‘We’re allowing these people to come into our country and destroy our country and make it unsafe for people,’ Trump said, accusing President Barack Obama and Clinton of allowing ‘hundreds of thousands’ of refugees to ‘pour into’ the US,” reports Talking Points Memo. “‘We’re allowing these people to come in. We don’t want to — we don’t want to do any profiling. If somebody looks like he’s got a massive bomb on his back, we won’t go up to that person and say, ‘I’m sorry,’ because if he looks like he comes from that part of the world, we’re not allowed to profile. Give me a break.'”
While Trump is calling for aggressive profiling, his former presidential rival, Texas Senator Ted Cruz, is demanding that all refugees be blocked all together.
“Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) has renewed his call for a ban on refugees entering the US in the wake of the bombings in New York City and New Jersey and the stabbing attack in Minnesota,” reports The Blaze, a conservative news site, adding, “In a lengthy statement to the Washington Free Beacon on Monday, Cruz once again called on Congress ‘to prevent Americans who have traveled abroad for training from returning here and to stop the flow of refugees from hotbeds of terrorism in the Middle East that President Obama is determined to bring into our country.'”
Some GOP members are pushing a ban on Muslims or ideology tests, but one Minnesota politico blames the Minnesota Somali community for “refusing to assimilate” well enough and fast enough. Military Veteran Pete Hegseth proclaimed on Fox News that Minnesota Somalis have had the audacity to not give up their culture now that they are in the US, and that is what is leading to terror attacks.
“Hegseth immediately introduced the non-assimilation meme when he responded that it didn’t surprise him because ‘a lot of’ Somali communities ‘have not assimilated the way we would want them to.’ He alleged that ‘there is an incubation, there are some radical mosques, some radical teachings,” reports Newshound. “…Working in the requisite right wing talking points, he attacked Hillary Clinton, Pres. Obama, and Angela Merkel for wanting to open up borders to those who don’t want to ‘invest in our culture.’ He reinforced the propaganda: ‘There’s a real problem here in Minnesota with that assimilation.'”
Will the GOP get their wish and get a freeze on refugees? They could very well manage it, all by putting the government in danger of another shut down. With just days to go before a new continuing resolution must be passed to keep the government funded until after the election, a group of nearly three dozen GOP legislators have decided to amend the CR with just such a proposal.
“Around three dozen House conservatives are urging GOP leaders to insert language into the bill to keep the government running that would freeze Middle East refugee resettlement programs until better vetting processes are ‘put in place,'” CBS News reports. “The group of 37 Republicans want to attach their proposal to a funding bill that lawmakers are still hashing out that would extend 2016 spending levels for a few more months.”
Grinding the government to a halt unless refugees are no longer admitted into the country? That sounds just about as un-American as you can get to me.