In an interview, the New York State campaign co-chair for Donald Trump pointed at President Barack Obama’s handing of matters in the Middle East as evidence of a claim he was trying to make.
The point that Carl Paladino, Trump’s New York co-chair, was trying to make is that Barack Obama is Muslim.
Paladino, who in 2010 ran for the governor or New York, made the claim in an interview with the Observer for an unrelated story. According to the Observer:
“[Paladino] abruptly changed subjects and assailed the sitting president and his policies. The Buffalo-based real estate developer and Tea Party activist maintained that Obama, a practicing Christian, has sought to mislead the public about his religious affiliation, but that the citizenry has not fallen for his falsehoods.
“’In the mind of the average American, there is no doubt he is a Muslim,’” Paladino said. “’He is not a Christian.’”
Paladino’s proof was, apparently, his claim that the president has been taking a pro-Muslim approach in the American foreign policy.
“Look at what he’s done with Iran, what he’s done with the Sunni-Shia thing over in Iraq and Iran, and with ISIS,” stated Paladino in the interview.
Claims that Barack Obama is secretly Muslim have been made since he first ran for the U.S. presidency. Though the claims have long since been debunked, those who have advanced them have relied on the fact that Obama’s father was born into a Muslim family in Kenya. They also rely on the fact that the President may have received some instruction on Islam when he attended an Indonesian public school as a child.
The claims pay no mind to the fact that the President attended Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ for 20 years, something that was separately a point of controversy due to the fact that Rev. Jeremiah Wright served as a pastor.
Aside from the underlying claim, Paladino’s assertion that the average American believes that the president is certainly Muslim has no basis in fact either. According to the Observer:
“polls indicate only 18 to 29 percent of the populace identify him as an adherent of the world’s second-largest religion. However, surveys suggest a full two-thirds of Trump supporters believe the president has hidden his true allegiances to the Quran and the holy city of Mecca.
This is far from Paladino’s first brush with controversy. During his 2010 run for governor, he came under fire for comments he made about the attire at gay pride parades, and for a series of emails he had allegedly sent over the years—emails that included pictures of nude women, videos of horses copulating with humans and material that seemed to compare African-Americans to chimpanzees.
It should be noted that Donald Trump, himself, spent much of Obama’s early years as President advancing claims of the birther movement, which claimed that the President was not born on U.S. soil, and therefore, was not eligible to serve as the President of the United States. Though those claims have long been debunked, among other things, based on the President releasing his “long form” birth certificate, many Trump supporters continue to believe in them.
Read The Observer’s full story here.