The New GOP Shuffle? (or, Dancing around Trump and Islam)

So, there is this (via CNN):  Donald Trump: ‘I think Islam hates us’

Donald Trump said Wednesday that he thinks “Islam hates us,” drawing little distinction between the religion and radical Islamic terrorism.

“I think Islam hates us,” Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper, deploring the “tremendous hatred” that he said partly defined the religion. He maintained the war was against radical Islam, but said, “it’s very hard to define. It’s very hard to separate. Because you don’t know who’s who.”

As a result, a lot of Republicans politicians are going to find themselves doing the kind of dance Governor Rick Scott did on Morning Joe (link):

Scarborough wanted to know whether Scott agreed with that sentiment. Scott dodged the question, saying that Florida is “the best melting pot in the world” but noting that he wanted to stop allowing Syrian refugees in Florida until they could get better security vetting.

Scarborough pressed him. Fine, he said, the vetting of refugees is a fair subject for debate. But what about Trump’s statement?

“I’m just asking generally, do you think that Muslims hate Americans? That Islam hates America, as Donald Trump said last night?” Scarborough asked.

[…]

Scarborough tried one more time, again, to no avail:

Scarborough: “No, no, no, I don’t want to know what’s going on in Florida. I want to know what’s going on in your head, Governor. We’re friends. I want you to answer the question. Do you think personally think that Islam is a religion that hates America?”

Scott: “So Joe, what I can tell you, in our state we have a lot of Muslims that live in our state, we have a lot of Latin Americans who live in our state, we all get along … we love people coming to our state.”

At this point, Brzezinski interrupted, and gave it her best shot:

Brzezinski: “Rick, Rick, I know you and Joe are friends and this is a little awkward. Can you answer the question or should we scoot?”

Scott: “I can tell you that I’m glad everybody is in Florida. We’re doing well here. The debate is going to be fun tonight. I hope they talk about jobs. It’s the most important issue.”

I have no idea what Scott actually thinks on this topic, but one thing is for certain:  Trump’s views are unfairly over-broad and are, by definition, bigoted.  Not only do such statements impugn over a billion people worldwide, but millions of Americans.  However, for reasons of political expediency, Republicans who want to be able to support their party’s nominees are going to have to either blatantly endorse these views or take the coward’s way out and equivocate and refuse to answer these question (but, thus, implicitly endorsing them).

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Politics 101, Quick Takes, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. FredW says:

    I think you have your Scotts mixed up. Talking about Florida is was Gov Rick Scott.

  2. @FredW: Oops–thanks. I have fixed it–the fingers sometimes have a mind of their own…

  3. al-Ameda says:

    Brzezinski: “Rick, Rick, I know you and Joe are friends and this is a little awkward. Can you answer the question or should we scoot?”

    Scott: “I can tell you that I’m glad everybody is in Florida. We’re doing well here. The debate is going to be fun tonight. I hope they talk about jobs. It’s the most important issue.”

    Is the choice really between un-thoughtful candidates and politicians like Sarah Palin and Donald Trump who, despite being uninformed on many important subjects, “speak their mind,” AND people like Rick Scott who, not so cleverly, evade and avoid answering simple direct questions? These days Republican voters seem to prefer uninformed emotional politicians and candidates, although they’re quite willing to vote for a quintessential lightweight like Rick Scott.

  4. Gustopher says:

    If America elects Trump, would it be fair for Muslims everywhere to say “America hates Islam”?

  5. gVOR08 says:

    I think it goes way past supporting the nominee. Even though he’s term limited, Scott fears his own Republican base. If he hints at anything short of ‘Islam is a religion of hate,all Muslims hate us for our freedom’ he will have constituents coming down on him like a ton of bricks and he can kiss off any thought of running for the Senate or President or Dog Catcher.

    Republicans think Trump did this to them. The problem is not Trump. Trump is just lying better than the rest of them to give the GOP base what it wants. The problem is the base the Republicans have developed over the last 50 years.

  6. Frank says:

    So I guess diplomacy with a huge chunk of the world’s off, then?

  7. @Frank: It will cut down on the work load for Secretary of State Palin.

  8. An Interested Party says:

    It will cut down on the work load for Secretary of State Palin.

    Well, as we know, she has already prepared for that job by living so very close to Russia…

  9. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @gVOR08: I think you’ve hit it. What Scott is thinking is that this, relative to his constituency, is a “have you stopped beating your wife” question. Everyone knows that Islam is a philosophical/religious concept and incapable of hating anyone. Believers in Islam are capable of hate, but if he says either answer he will be pilloried for being “soft on terrah” or impugning citizens of his state. (Bleep), even Trump equivocated in his answer to Anderson Cooper, and his teflon coating is a bunch thicker than Scott’s.