Former militant linked to anti-Muslim movement joins Trump’s foreign policy team

Imagine2050 Staff • Mar 21, 2016

During a meeting with The Washington Post’s editorial board Monday, Donald Trump discussed the upcoming release of his foreign policy advisor team, and revealed the names of some of the people already chosen. Among the listed is Walid Phares, a Lebanese self-styled terrorism “expert” with connections to the organized anti-Muslim movement in the United States.

Phares, a Maronite Christian and former Lebanese militant, makes the rounds as a counter-terrorism and national security consultant, mostly among right-wing and anti-Muslim circles. An exposé by Mother Jones revealed Phares spent the 1980s training Christian militants during Lebanon’s brutal civil war. According to some sources, Phares promoted a Christian separatist and sectarian agenda to Lebanon’s right-wing militias. He later fled Lebanon in 1990.

Trump seems to be following the lead of 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who also chose Phares to be part of his foreign policy team.

“In a little over two decades, he’s (Phares) gone from training Lebanese militants to teaching American law enforcement and intelligence officials about the Middle East, and from advising Lebanese warlords to counseling a man who could be the next president of the United States,” writes former Mother Jones reporter Adam Serwer.

Phares also has connections to figures within the anti-Muslim movement, including Frank Gaffney, the notorious anti-Muslim conspiracist who heads the hate group, the Center for Security Policy. He has appeared on Gaffney’s radio show numerous times as well as spoken at events organized by Gaffney’s group.

And as the website Right Wing Watch highlights, Phares is no stranger to promoting anti-Muslim conspiracies: Phares “accus[ed] President Obama of trying to ‘quit the ideological confrontation’ with radical Islamic group.” He was also called to testify at Rep. Peter King’s (R-NY) controversial hearings on Muslim radicalization. 

Phares’ appointment comes a short while after it was announced that Gaffney — along with several other anti-Muslim figures such as Clare Lopez, Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin, and Andrew C. McCarthy — were recruited by Ted Cruz to sit on his foreign policy team.

Phares is not the only controversial figure advising Trump. On March 3, Trump’s campaign announced anti-immigrant hardliner Jeff Sessions would be the chairman of his national security advisory committee. Sessions, like Phares, also has an ongoing problem of collaborating with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim hate groups alike.

The Center for New Community is a 501(c)(3) organization and does not endorse any political parties or candidates for elected office. This post, and any post on Imagine2050, is not intended to support or oppose any candidates for elected office.


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