Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has some new advisors on foreign policy.
The team is just a little bit larger than Donald Trump’s—the frontrunner says he consults with himself on global affairs, because he has “a big brain”—but it includes a controversial pundit on whose “expertise” Donald Trump has relied on in the past.
Frank Gaffney is the controversial founder of the Center for Security Policy, and one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes and conspiracy theorists. The former Reagan administration official most recently made the news when Trump cited a dubious poll conducted by his think tank that claimed that “25% of those polled agreed that violence against Americans here in the United States is justified as a part of the global jihad.”
A frequent subject of Gaffney’s conspiracy theories is Barack Obama: Gaffney said the president could be a Muslim because he uses phrases such as the “Holy Koran,” and that Obama was elected thanks to the “jihadist vote.” In 2010, Gaffney described a logo for the Missile Defense Agency as an “ominous” reflection of “a morphing of the Islamic crescent and star with the Obama campaign logo.”
He claims that the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated US politics, claiming that long-time Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin is an operative of the group. “We know for a fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has as its mission the worldwide imposition of Islam’s toxic, brutally repressive and anti-constitutional supremacist doctrine known as shariah. And yes, it means here, too,” he wrote in 2013. When he accused Republican pundit Grover Norquist of having ties to the Brotherhood, he was banned from an important conservative conference.
Cruz’s team includes several of Gaffney’s disciples, but also people who could oppose his views, including Elliott Abrams, a former diplomat who believes moderate Muslims are key in fighting extremism. The built-in tension between the two camps in Cruz’s foreign policy team is deliberate, his campaign said.