Remember When Trump Thought It Was Bad Form for Pamela Geller to Antagonize Muslims?
Donald Trump has decided to really go big on the anti-Muslim rhetoric, and he is standing pretty firmly by his call to ban all foreign Muslims from entering the United States.
But remember a few months ago when Trump didn’t think it was a good idea to provoke the Muslim world? Since Trump’s announcement yesterday, a couple of people have flagged this tweet of his from back in May:
The U.S. has enough problems without publicity seekers going out and openly mocking religion in order to provoke attacks and death. BE SMART
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 5, 2015
Yes, for all the talk of how Donald Trump “tells it like it is” and isn’t afraid to be politically incorrect, he sure sounded like he had some “politically correct” objections to Geller’s “Draw Muhammad” cartoon contest.
Let’s back up for a second, since it was about a thousand news cycles ago and this happened before Trump announced his presidential run. You’ll recall that back in May, Geller organized that cartoon contest in Garland, Texas to make a statement about free speech and not giving in to the whims of terrorists. Two suspects targeted the event and were shot. This kicked off a huge debate about whether Geller’s event went too far in inviting an attack or, to a lesser degree, antagonizing the Muslim world.
One of the people sharing that viewpoint was Trump. On Fox & Friends the day after, Trump condemned the shooting but also said, “It looked like she’s just taunting everybody. What is she doing drawing Mohammed?… Isn’t there something else they can draw?”
He also tweeted that it’s not a good idea to “provoke possible death” like that.
Gosh, that sounds pretty politically correct for someone who’s always saying we don’t have time to be politically correct.
And then there’s the interview he did with Neil Cavuto the next day on Fox News. And in hindsight, when you hear what Trump said about Geller being overly provocative, you may yourself swimming in a vast pool of irony. The interview is below, followed by some choice quotes from The Donald (emphasis added):
“Our country has a lot of problems. We have got problems at every different level, whether it’s economic or war and money that we’re spending that we’re not getting anything. We spend billions and billions of dollars fighting and even trillions of dollars fighting. We end up getting nothing out of it. And the last thing we need is an obnoxious blowhard like Geller to go out and start trouble, when there’s no reason for it.”
“What is she doing it for? This has nothing do with free speech. This is taunting. And all it does is cause trouble.”
“She should be much more responsible, because what she’s doing is unnecessary. I will give you an example. Let her go out and talk about — she’s using this to show free speech. She’s not using it for any other — and she’s using it for her own purpose. She’s a person that is doing this for her own purpose, Neil, and she’s doing a terrible thing for our country.”
“If she went after instead Jesus, instead of the Muslims, went after Jesus, let’s see how long she’d last. If she went after the African-Americans and went after the N-word, where she was positive on it as opposed to — let’s see how long she would last. And that would also be freedom of speech. Let’s see if she has the guts to do that. Let’s see how long she would last doing that. All she’s doing, she’s a provocateur. All she’s doing is provoking and taunting people. And this country has enough problems right now.”
Doesn’t that sound a little too much like what Trump’s critics are currently saying about him?
It’s also worth highlighting Trump’s interview the following week with Megyn Kelly (before she committed the sin of asking him tough questions at a debate). Kelly confronted Trump with the free speech argument. Trump called Geller a “terrible messenger” and asked, “Why with all the problems we have, why taunt?”
And in case you’re wondering what Geller thinks of Trump’s current Muslim entry ban proposal, she told Lou Dobbs yesterday that President Obama‘s weak foreign policy has necessitated “extreme” measures. However, she still remembers Trump tossing aside the First Amendment to trash her, so she is still not a fan.
[image via screengrab]
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.