Trump’s boasts about heading off the 9/11 attacks ring hollow when one watches the video below, in which he refuses to say that he would insist that the President place adherence to the Constitution over adherence to Sharia. And after he denounced our free speech event in Garland, Texas, last May, it is not at all clear that he understands the jihad imperative or the war against free speech, or is at all equipped to counter them.
Many people, particularly his supporters, misunderstand this point, saying that Trump is all for free speech, he just objects to how Pamela Geller and I were exercising it by drawing Muhammad. However, that objection in itself misses the point. Is the freedom of speech only to be defended when we like what is being said. Speaking strictly for myself, I always hated the Charlie Hebdo Muhammad cartoons: they were crude, puerile, silly, and often genuinely offensive (not because they depicted Muhammad). But I understood that they were necessary, as the cartoonists were standing up to the jihadist bullies and showing that violent intimidation would not rule the day, so I never voiced any objections: to have done so would have needlessly detracted from the genuine meaning and importance of what they were doing.
That battle was lost: Islamic jihadis murdered the cartoonists, and Charlie Hebdo surrendered, vowing never to draw Muhammad again. But the principle remains, and people like Trump, Bill O’Reilly and Laura Ingraham who took issue what we were doing in the wake of the jihad attack on our event in Garland don’t seem to grasp what the freedom of speech is all about. What they’re missing is neatly encapsulated in what used to be an adage: “I do not agree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” In other words, I will stand with you against tyranny, because even if I disagree with your opinions, I understand that once opinions begin to be criminalized, we are all the poorer, and all at risk.
Trump doesn’t get this. After Garland, he breezily and readily voiced his willingness to adhere to Sharia blasphemy laws and refrain from drawing Muhammad. And in this video, he refuses to say whether he agrees that the President should put the Constitution over Sharia. So when he says he would have prevented 9/11, his Sharia compliance makes me wonder if his doing so would have made any difference for the U.S. in the long run.
(Video thanks to Larry.)
“Donald Trump On 9/11: My Immigration Policies Would Have Prevented Sept. 11 Terrorist Attacks,” by Morgan Winsor, International Business Times, October 18, 2015:
Donald Trump said Sunday his “extremely tough” immigration policies would have prevented the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks if he had been president of the United States. The Republican presidential candidate also said his GOP rival Jeb Bush should stop defending his brother over the terrorist attacks, which claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 people.
“I am extremely, extremely tough on illegal immigration. I’m extremely tough on people coming into this country. I believe that if I were running things, I doubt those people would have been in the country,” Trump said on “Fox News Sunday,” according to the Washington Post. “With that being said, I’m not blaming George Bush. But I don’t want Jeb Bush saying, ‘My brother kept us safe,’ because Sept. 11 was one of the worst days in the history of this country.”
Bush fired back at the real estate mogul and defended his brother, former President George W. Bush. “Look, my brother responded to a crisis, and he did it as you would hope a president would do. He united the country, he organized our country, and he kept us safe. And there’s no denying that. The great majority of Americans believe that,” the GOP presidential candidate said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”
Bush slammed Trump for his comments about the Sept. 11 attacks by al Qaeda terrorists and said they show his “lack of seriousness” about being commander-in-chief. Trump talks about national security and foreign policy as if he is playing a board game or still hosting reality TV show “The Apprentice,” Bush said.
“Across the spectrum of foreign policy, Mr. Trump talks about things [like] that — as though he’s still on ‘The Apprentice.’ I mean, literally, talking about Syria, saying ‘ISIS should take out Assad, then Russia should take out ISIS’ as though it was some kind of board game and not a serious approach is just — this is just another example of the lack of seriousness,” he told CNN on Sunday, referring to the Syrian conflict in which Russia says it is conducting airstrikes against the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime….