Donald Trump is not known for his political tact, but time and again he has proven that the normal rules simply don’t apply to him. Yet the president-elect will be pressing his luck if he goes through with his rumored plan to nominate former ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton as deputy secretary of state.
While Bolton has a well-earned reputation for extreme hawkishness—he is unapologetic about his support for the invasion of Iraq and advocated starting a war with Iran as recently as last year—less attention has been paid to his warm relationship with anti-Muslim advocates Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer, whose organization, the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), has been widely condemned by civil -liberties and anti-discrimination groups for its efforts to demonize Muslims and the Islamic religion. The Anti-Defamation League describes AFDI as “consistently vilifying the Islamic faith under the guise of fighting radical Islam,” and promoting a “conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda.” The Southern Poverty Law Center highlights Geller’s “assertions that President Obama is the ‘love child’ of Malcolm X and that he was ‘involved with a crack whore.’” She is, the SPLC observes, “probably the best known—and the most unhinged—anti-Muslim ideologue in the United States.”
Meanwhile, says the SPLC:
Spencer has complained of ‘Shariah enclaves’ and predicted that they will grow across America; referred to Barack Obama as ‘the first Muslim president’; claimed that Islam ‘mandates warfare against unbelievers’ and said that ‘traditional Islam is not moderate or peaceful’; and even suggested that the media may be getting money to depict Muslims in a positive light.
Over the past five years, Geller and Spencer have mounted legal campaigns to force public buses across the country to run AFDI advertisements, including one claiming “Islamic Jew-hatred: It’s in the Quran,” and calling for an end to “all aid to Islamic countries.”