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. Todd Brown, Detroit, Michigan

    Funny that half the people commenting in this thread didn't even read the story. Or if they did, then they didn't understand what they were reading (which is just sad).

    Even sadder is the fact that this is a "story" to be read at all.

    November 28, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. Don Currier

    Good for Romney. We shouldn't appoint a Muslim, or anyone for that matter, just because of his/her religion and minority status. It should be based on qualifications and not to appease a demographic. And don't ever try to make the US a Muslim state either. You want to live here in this country you must live by our rules and culture. Don't like it, then leave.

    November 28, 2007 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  3. Mike, Evansville Indiana

    "To the victor goes the spoils." All of you are wasting your time and energy complaining about Romney. If he wins, and that is a big if, he get to choose whoever he wants for his cabinet. Get over it!

    November 28, 2007 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  4. R Ankeny IA

    Has anyone read the Quran, it is about killing infidels and those who speak out against Islam. Also the treatment of women is that of slavery. To let a person of that belief in a high post would be treason to the Contstitution.

    November 28, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. John, Michigan

    I would only want a qualified American in my cabinet. If that resulted in all members being the same race, gender and religion I would take efficiency and accountability over diversity. I really doubt they could ever be that homogeneous. Unfortunately I would also question the efficiency and accountability of the recent Cabinet.

    November 28, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  6. lou tulsa

    Isn't it ironic that when the subject revolves around Christianity, everyone screams "Separation of Church and State", but when it revolves around Islam, its OK to bring up religion. Is that simply because a Mosque is not a "church" or is it deeper? America had better not forget our roots or we will be pulled up by them.

    November 28, 2007 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  7. Barry Barrineau, Charleston, SC

    It is obvious from many of these comments that sound bites work. Read the entire article and not just the headline. What he said makes perfect sense, what the headline implies does not.

    November 28, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  8. Brian J, Marrietta GA

    If the cabinet is supposed to be comprised based on the percentage of beliefs of the people, is Romney ready to represent the 10% of the American population that is non-theistic by making 10% of his cabinet Atheist, Agnostic or Deist? Somehow I seriously doubt it.

    November 28, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  9. Allen, Cleveland, OH

    My wife attended the camapaign event and she corroborates Governor Romney's version of his comments. A question was posed as to whether or not Governor Romney felt it was necessary to have a Muslim in his cabinet to deal with the radical Islamic problems we're experiencing. Governor Romney simply stated that it wasn't necessary in order to deal with the problems. He never said he wouldn't nominate a Muslim for his cabinet. The original story is irresponsible reporting at its worst.

    November 28, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  10. WakeWashington

    Why didn't this story report that Mansoor Ijaz is a Democratic fund raiser with obvious motivation to misinterpret or misquote Romney's remarks? He has contributed to Hillary as well as Bill, and this is just their lame attempt to attack Romney's religion indirectly. It speaks well of Romney that he has them worried enough to start pulling out their smears and dirty tricks this early.

    November 28, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  11. John H. New York, NY

    who cares if he appoints/doesn't appoint a muslim to the cabinet. maybe he should throw a scientologist and a Branch Davidian into the cabinet as well just so we make everyone happy.

    November 28, 2007 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  12. Richard, St. Paul, MN

    HA! Romney's such a two-faced liar. There's no way his Mormon beliefs would ever let him shake hands with a Muslim, much less have one in his cabinet.

    November 28, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Rus c, wichita, Ks

    in the history of this country there has always been a group of people intolerant and ignorant, fortunately this great country over comes all of this sooner or later. I f you go 40 or 50 yrs back in history, you will see similar comment made about blacks, catholic, Jews and , yes Mormons.....so on...

    November 28, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  14. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    What else is new, Republicans appeal to narrow minded citizens down south and bigots.

    November 28, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  15. Edward, St. Louis, MO

    I like how there are two sides to this. we have to analyze the question first that was asked of Romney. and then see how the answers get construed. just part of the political game folks.

    November 28, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  16. Brandon, Tampa, FL

    R Arkeny IN:
    You realize a good majority of Muslims are nothing like the radical fundamentalists the media makes them out to be.

    Either way, it's not like Christianity is a shining beacon of reason, either. In fact, there are just about the same amount of fundies on the Christian side of the coin.

    November 28, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Mark, Shreveport, La

    "“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."

    Good, we don't need another Clinton who appointed token minorities to mid-level cabinet positions.

    November 28, 2007 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Steve, Lyons, CO

    OOPS! Romney blows it again. Can't hide that bigotry for long.

    November 28, 2007 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Christopher, correcting GOP lies without the spin, Madison, WI

    DID HE SAY IT OR NOT – HE SAID HE DIDN'T – DID ANYONE GET IT ONE TAPE? IF NOT ITS PROBUBLY NOT TRUE.
    Posted By leo, new bern, nc : November 27, 2007 6:41 pm

    Yes Leo they did and if you did your homework and shut off your caps once in awhile you could check it out on line. This bigot said it and then tried to rewrite history. Why do you repukes have a problem remembering that you're always going to recorded and transcripts will follow. More Kool-Aide anyone. God Shut-up already!

    November 28, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    There's no way his Mormon beliefs would ever let him shake hands with a Muslim, much less have one in his cabinet.

    Posted By Richard, St. Paul, MN : November 28, 2007 10:31 am

    Good grief, I can't believe people are this ignorant in the year 2007.

    November 28, 2007 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. kate lee, scottsbluff, NE

    When one studies Mormonism and Islam, there really are far more silimarities than differences. I seriously doubt that Mr. Romney would exclude Muslims from his cabinet should he be elected.

    November 28, 2007 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Tom - Dedham, Mass

    Posted By Christopher, correcting GOP lies without the spin, Madison, WI : November 28, 2007 12:27 pm

    Can you provide the transcripts or the link that proves what this person is saying or perhaps somebody else WHO WAS IN THE ROOM can corroborate his story?

    There were other people in the room, but strangely nobody else has said this and nobody else is reporting it.

    Do some research on this "gentlemen" fron New York (hmmm) and you will find he is a big supporter of the Clinton's (again hmmm).

    November 28, 2007 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    Thank you, Gundy, UT. That's exactly what I was going to comment until I read yours. McCain just reiterated the same thing that Romney stated using different words.

    Since Romney is now a front runner in early primary states (NH, IA, SC) these negative statements from the other contenders are bound to occur. First Huck, then Fred, then Rudy and now McCain. Do you see the pattern here? This is why it's called the RACE.

    KEITH JAMES LOUTTIT:

    Did you even read the article?.

    November 28, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Lance San Diego, CA

    This is directed towards the statement that talks about Mormon beliefs and shaking hands with Muslims. I knew a Mormon family that took in an orphaned 14 year old boy from the middle east. That Mormon family took him to Mosque every week, and encouraged his native religious and cultural heritage. If Mormons weren't allowed to shake hands with a Muslim, they certainly wouldn't have taken them into their home and loved him as their son. I think some of you should get your facts straight before you begin fueling the fires of hatred.

    November 28, 2007 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. LLB, FL

    I'm not so sure I would put a Muslin in my Cabinet either! That's a bit ridiculous! I'm not a Republican fan, but I sure as hell support Mitt's decision!

    November 28, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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