Cantor defends Bachmann: Anti-Muslim witch hunt is ‘about security’
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) on Friday refused to condemn Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-MN) suggestion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin, had infiltrated the U.S. government on behalf of radical Islamists in the Muslim Brotherhood.
Last week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) accused Bachmann and four other Republican lawmakers of “specious and degrading attacks” after they called on inspectors general in the State, Homeland Security, Defense and Justice departments to investigate “potential Muslim Brotherhood infiltration” of the Obama administration by Abedin, an aide to Secretary Clinton and wife of former Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY).
McCain was just the first in a series of Republicans — including House Speaker John Boehner, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, Wisconsin Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner and former Bachmann campaign manager Ed Rollins — who spoke up to condemn the anti-Muslim accusations.
Although Cantor had recently said his party needed to be more tolerant of LGBT people and Muslims, he seemed on Friday to legitimize Bachmann’s call for an investigation.
“If you read some of the reports that have covered this story, I think that her concern was about the security of the country,” the Virginia Republican insisted to CBS host Charlie Rose. “So, that’s about all I know.”
In an interview with BuzzFeed last week, Cantor called on Republicans for an “acceptance of diversity.”
“I’ve always said we need to be a party of inclusion not exclusion,” Cantor explained. “We need to be promoting tolerance and, you know, as someone who is a religious minority, I sort of grew up with having that mindset, knowing full well that I am in a very distinct way from a religious background, separate and apart from the mainstream of this country.”
He added that it was “absolutely wrong to stereotype or look badly at anyone because of their religion.”
Watch this video from the CBS’s This Morning, broadcast July 27, 2012.
(h/t: Think Progress)