November 28th, 2007
05:52 AM ET
7 years ago

Romney denies ruling out Muslim for Cabinet post

Romney said he did not rule out appointing a Muslim to his Cabinet.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney disputed a report Tuesday that he categorically ruled out appointing a Muslim to a Cabinet position.

Mansoor Ijaz, an American born businessman of Islamic faith, writes in the Christian Science Monitor that at a recent campaign event Romney said assigning a Muslim to his Cabinet would not be "justified" based on their percentage of the population.

"Romney, whose Mormon faith has become the subject of heated debate in Republican caucuses, wants America to be blind to his religious beliefs and judge him on merit instead," Ijaz writes. "Yet he seems to accept excluding Muslims because of their religion, claiming they're too much of a minority for a post in high-level policymaking."

Campaigning in Florida, the former Massachusetts governor denied making such a blanket statement.

“His question was did I need to have a Muslim in my Cabinet to be able to confront radical jihad and would it be important to have a Muslim in my Cabinet,” said Romney, “and I said, 'No I don't think you need to have a Muslim in the Cabinet to take on radical jihad any more than during the second world war we needed to have a Japanese American to help us understand the threat that was coming from Japan.

“The people who would be part of my cabinet is something that I really haven't given a lot of thought to at this point, but I don't have boxes I check off as to their ethnicity…instead I would choose people based upon their merits and their capabilities,” he added.

Meanwhile, rival John McCain took aim at the alleged comments while campaigning in South Carolina. (Watch McCain's comments)

“I think his comment is indicative of how he might govern and I think it's absolutely wrong,” said the Arizona senator. “You appoint the most qualified people for the job, no matter who they are, where they come from, or where in America, as long as they're citizens.”

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Florida • John McCain • Mitt Romney • South Carolina
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Matt, Chicago

    Ahh...riling up nativist sentiment since'06. Many of the GOP love sweeping generalizations. Maybe they ironically view Romney as a blasphemous, cousin(s)-marrying, racist, prairie dog eating, overall-wearing, booze-avoiding hilljack from Ogden.

    November 27, 2007 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  2. Lee, Mays Landing NJ

    Eventually weasels like Mitt Romney and Rudy Guiliani get caught.

    November 27, 2007 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Independent in IA

    I believe Romney a whole lot more quickly than I do John McCain, and certainly more quickly than somebody who contributes to the Christian Science Monitor.

    November 27, 2007 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  4. leo, new bern, nc

    DID HE SAY IT OR NOT – HE SAID HE DIDN'T – DID ANYONE GET IT ONE TAPE? IF NOT ITS PROBUBLY NOT TRUE.

    November 27, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. Jason, Seattle, WA

    Well I'm not sure what else Romney can to do to hurt himself in the primaries. Can I vote for none of the above this election?

    November 27, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  6. stan pitts p.a

    if this lying, fake and naive republican wont have a muslim in his cabinet, then we the "people wont have him a mormon as president" simply put romney doesnt think honesty is the best principle, who is this guy??? God save America from romney, he smells of racist, he has no african-americans in his inner circle or team, now muslim – americans can hold office in his cabinet??? for the record im not muslim, i just dont want a racist as president!!!

    November 27, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  7. Scott, Denver, CO

    This is ridiculous and sounds all too similar to Al Sharpton's attack on Howard Dean in 2004. Sharpton pinned him for not appointing any Latinos or African Americans to his Vermont cabinet, when both groups made up less than 1% of the state population respectively. The only difference is that Romney isn't dumb enough to fall for it like Dean did.

    November 27, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  8. Craig, Seattle, Wa

    Yeah.. and I AGREE with Romney.. although he is not getting my vote.. Hillary is.

    November 27, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. stan pitts p.a

    if this lying, fake and naive republican wont have a muslim in his cabinet, then we the "people wont have him a mormon as president" simply put romney doesnt think honesty is the best principle, who is this guy??? God save America from romney, he smells of racist, he has no african-americans in his inner circle or team, now muslim – americans cant hold office in his cabinet??? for the record im not muslim, i just dont want a racist as president!!!

    November 27, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. Mark, Arlington, VA

    umm– why is this a story.. His comment makes sense. There's no controversy.. CNN– your a bunch of idiots

    November 27, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. Lev Klinemann, Redondo Beach CA

    Saying that somebody should not be able to serve in Mitts cabinet solly because of his/her religion is a minority religion, is kind of like saying Mitt should not be able to serve as a president because he is a Mormon (a minority religion in the US).

    Maybe jews shouldnt be able serve either, eh Mitt, they are a minority religion in the US too.

    What an idiot this man is, he is a flip-flopper, and the worst of all a hypocrite.

    November 27, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  12. T. Tim, Lodi, WI

    Flip-flop ... flip-flop ... flip-flop... Here we go again, Mitt.

    November 27, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  13. Gundy, UT

    McCain only restates what is said by Romney: "I would appoint whomever is most qualified" There is no news here, just distorted takes on Romney words by the media.

    November 27, 2007 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  14. Bill, Bloomington IL

    I didnt know McCain was still running.

    November 27, 2007 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. Jake, Honolulu

    The claim the Romnney said he wouldn't appoint someone to his cabinet because they're Muslim is ridiculous. Even if you don't like Romney, he's extremely intelligent and he's not going make a comment like that when the biggest obstacle he faces in his own election is religious descrimination. Try again, that one's not going to fly with those of us in the realm of intelligence.

    November 27, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  16. Tina Wilson, Concord, CA

    let's all take aim at alleged comments...this will create a much more interesting debate!

    What does jihad have to do with the Muslim faith anyway, from what I can tell, jihadists and terrorists are murderers attempting to hijack the peaceful religion of Islam. To say otherwise is wrong. Romney knows that and I hope McCain does as well.

    All Muslims qualified for US Government Cabinet posts, please send your resumes in to all candidates...as the choosing may begin any day.

    November 27, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  17. Joe, Boston, MA

    This is no surprise! This oh so pro family guy is only family when it comes to his idea of family and not all families...listen to his inflamatory and hateful staements regarding LGBT families or single parent families. he lives in a fantastical vacuum...

    November 27, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  18. jay, sherman oaks CA

    This is bad publicy to Romney. I don't think america is ready for a Mormon president at this time.

    November 27, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  19. Steve Larson, San Antonio, TX

    It seems the Mr. MCain does agree with Mr. Romney, that appointments should be based upon ability, not upon political posturing. Let's hope that the next President will conduct themselves with honest, thoughtful distinction, whoever that may be.

    November 27, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. Tim Walla

    what Romney said was that he would not use quotas to dictate hiring. It doesn't take a muslim to solve problems with jihadists or terrorists. After all the jihadists are murderers not muslims!

    November 27, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  21. john williams san diego, ca.

    muslims should have the same freedoms to hold office and practice their faith as Christians are allowed to hold office and pray in places such as Saudi Arabia.

    November 27, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. Tina, Antioch, CA

    so Romney would not exclude Muslims or any other religion and he would not use quotas to determine who to hire....sounds good, so where is the story?

    November 27, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  23. Don, Las Vegas Nevada

    The question that is detailed was asked at a fundrasing event that I attended in Las Vegas a few weeks ago. The facts regarding the question and answer are exactly as Romney said. I was very impressed with him during the event and hope he continues to do well.

    November 27, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  24. anwar, dover de.

    He should not rule out a Muslim for the Cabinet of course. Many Muslims have held office and are vested in improving our country. Good Luck at the debates Mitt.

    November 27, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  25. SM, Seattle WA

    I may agree with Romney, NO MUSLIMS in our governemnt, read the Koran and you know their agenda, why not have Osama bin Laden in the cabinet as well, get real people, this is fact they aim to make the world Muslim, this statement is not political correctness, it is what it is, wake up America....

    November 27, 2007 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
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