One week into his presidential campaign and Sen. Ted Cruz is already stirring up controversy.
Last week, the senator from Texas and the presidential hopeful traveled to New Hampshire for the “New England Freedom Conference” as mentioned here at Imagine 2050.
Mother Jones, among other publications, took note and put it like this: “Ted Cruz expected to headline event with a man who compared Muslims to Nazis.”
That man is anti-Muslim activist and blogger Robert Spencer. In addition, the event’s organizer, Young America’s Foundation, has previously hosted speakers such as former British National Party chairman Nick Griffin and raised money for a white nationalist organization.
Despite this, Cruz doubled down on defending his participation. A spokesperson for his campaign issued a statement saying, “Senator Cruz has been invited to speak to Young America’s Foundation…He intends to keep that commitment.”
While Cruz’s willingness to attach his name to such an event is problematic — especially for someone seeking to become the president of the United States — it’s actually not out of the ordinary for him. He already has a long history of speaking alongside anti-Muslim and far-Right extremists. In fact, Cruz has previously shared a stage with Spencer on numerous occasions (see below).
Just earlier this month, Cruz attended the “South Carolina National Security Action Summit,” which featured a handful of notorious figures responsible for promoting malicious rhetoric and policies directed toward Muslims and immigrants alike.
That summit was co-sponsored by Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy. Gaffney, a former Assistant Secretary of Defense under President Reagan, is a well-documented anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and one of the most prominent figureheads within the organized Islamophobia movement.
During Cruz’s remarks at the summit, which took place on March 14, he referred to Gaffney as “a clarion voice for truth.” Yes, Frank Gaffney, a well-known Obama “birther” who continues to claim that Muslims are actively working to impose Shariah law in the United States.
Thus, Cruz’s commitment to attend the New Hampshire conference on Friday is unsurprising. The list below shows that Cruz is more than willing to join forces with known bigots if it results in a platform for him.
- In May 2013, Cruz spoke at the David Horowitz’s Texas Weekend — an event that also featured Robert Spencer. Not to mention, the event was organized by racist and Islamophobia magnate David Horowitz.
- In November 2013, Cruz attended David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend — which also featured Spencer as well as a number of other anti-Muslim figures including Dutch politician Geert Wilders.
- In March 2014, Cruz spoke at the “Uninvited II” panel, which occurred during the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on an offsite location and featured voices considered too extreme for the conservative conference. During the event, Cruz appeared alongside individuals including former FBI agent John Guandolo, Rosemary Jenks of the anti-immigrant group NumbersUSA, and longtime far-Right figure Phyllis Schlafly. The event was co-sponsored by Breitbart News and Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy.
- In September 2014, Cruz spoke at the “National Security Action Summit II” – also sponsored by Frank Gaffney’s organization. Here, Cruz spoke alongside Mark Krikorian of the anti-immigrant organization Center for Immigration Studies as well as anti-Muslim columnist Diana West. During the event, Cruz referred to Gaffney as “a warrior for freedom” and stirred up fear about the threat of ISIS.
- In February 2015, Cruz attended Frank Gaffney’s “Defeat Jihad Summit.” The event featured a who’s who of figures comprising the organized Islamophobia movement. Those in attendance included David Yerushalmi, the legal mastermind behind the anti-Shariah movement, and Nonie Darwish, who once advocated that Islam needs to be “conquered and defeated and annihilated.”
- And most recently in March 2015, Cruz spoke at the “South Carolina National Security Action Summit” where he once again spoke among nativist figures such as John Guandolo, Rosemary Jenks of NumbersUSA, and Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin.
If there’s one takeaway from Cruz’s commitment to attend the New Hampshire conference despite the infusion of anti-Muslim hatred, it’s this: At least he’s consistent.