Nativism Watch

3 GOP hopefuls will try to court extremist votes at South Carolina summit

Imagine2050 Staff • Mar 05, 2015

A trio of Republican presidential candidates have accepted an invitation to appear alongside notorious nativists at an event sponsored by Breitbart News and Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy (CSP).

Sen. Ted Cruz, former Sen. Rick Santorum and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal have all committed to attend the March 14 “South Carolina National Security Action Summit,” hosted by Breitbart News, Frank Gaffney‘s Center for Security Policy (CSP) and High Frontier. Event organizers say they’ve extended an invitation to all the presidential hopefuls and are still waiting on replies.

The South Carolina event will feature leaders who comprise both the established anti-immigrant and Islamophobia movements such as Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA and Gaffney. Also on the agenda is FBI-agent-turned-professional fearmonger John Guandolo, whose current specialty is offering biased law enforcement and “civilian” trainings.

This event in a key early primary state seems to be a replacement for the nativist movement’s notable absence at last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, D.C. They had a pop-up press conference, but largely stayed away. In past years, Breitbart has co-hosted a similarly framed “National Security Action Summit” or the “Uninvited” panels, featuring the speakers scheduled for South Carolina, which ran simultaneously as a more extremist alternative to the CPAC sessions.

The event’s webpage promises a day of “penetrating analysis of national security matters that will help shape the future of SC and our nation as a whole.” Two of the panels advertised will address “border insecurity and illegal immigration” and the “threat from Shariah and the global jihad movement.” The event also demonstrates the ongoing confluence between the two movements and their continued use of framing their nativist policies under the guise of “national security.”

More so, the South Carolina summit highlights the willingness of lawmakers and Republican presidential hopeful’s willingness to participate and attach their names to an event full of far-Right extremists.

This is hardly the first time Cruz, Santorum or Jindal has collaborated with these extremists. In fact, last month both he and Jindal, who appeared via video, participated in the “Defeat Jihad Summit,” which was organized by Gaffney’s organization.

Listed below are some of the other panelists scheduled speak at the South Carolina event:

  • Frank Gaffney, a notorious anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists who believes Muslims are plotting to use something called “stealth jihad” to turn the United States into an Islamic State.
  • John Guandolo, a former FBI agent-turned anti-Muslim activist. Guandolo has previously claimed Muslims have no First Amendment rights and has accused CIA Director John Brennan of being a secret Muslim convert.
  • Rosemary Jenks, the Director of Government Relations at NumbersUSA – one of the most powerful anti-immigrant groups in the Beltway. Jenks serves as a link between the anti-immigrant movement’s grassroots base and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. She also keeps close ties with Gaffney.
  • Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, who is no stranger to controversy and peddling bigoted conspiracy theories. Boykin, like Guandolo, has also advocated that Islam should not be protected by the First Amendment and has urged Americans to “have more babies” in order to stave off an increased Muslim population in the U.S. that he claims will overwhelm the country.
  • Phyllis Schlafly, a longtime far-Right figure and founder of Eagle Forum, a group known for its staunch nativist agenda.
  • John Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador who now serves to push outlandish rhetoric as a Fox News contributor. Just recently, Bolton played a role in helping to spread the discredited Muslim “no-go zone” myth.

It remains to be seen whether or not additional presidential hopefuls will attend the event. As for Cruz, Santorum, and Jindal, a question lingers: As they vie for the GOP nomination, who exactly will they be representing?

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