November 18th, 2009
09:52 PM ET
4 years ago

McDonnell won’t disavow Robertson’s Islam remarks

Republican Bob McDonnell captured the Virginia governor's mansion back from Democrats earlier this month.
Republican Bob McDonnell captured the Virginia governor's mansion back from Democrats earlier this month.

CEDAR CREEK, Texas (CNN) – Virginia Gov.-elect Bob McDonnell on Wednesday would not disavow Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson’s recent claim that Islam is not a religion, but “a violent political system.”

McDonnell, though, stressed that he reached out to Muslims and visited mosques in Virginia throughout the governor’s race and will continue to do so when he takes office in January.

Muslim groups have called on McDonnell to condemn the remark because Robertson is a longtime political benefactor of the Republican, who won a blowout victory in this year’s closely-watched gubernatorial election.

McDonnell attended law school at CBN University (now Regent University), founded by Robertson, and has accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the televangelist along with appearing on his show, “The 700 Club.”

“I’ve got probably 15,000 donors to the campaign and I can’t stand and defend or support every comment that any donor might make,” McDonnell said in response to a question from CNN at the Republican Governors Association annual meeting near Austin. “I think people are entitled under the First Amendment to express whatever opinions that they may have, but I can only say that as governor of Virginia, I intend to have an inclusive administration where we bring people across the political and religious system to help us govern.”

Robertson made the comments on his show on November 9 after the shooting rampage at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas. The suspected gunman, Major Nidal Malik Hasan, is a Muslim who was critical of U.S. military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan

“Islam is a violent, I was going to say religion, but it's not a religion. It's a political system,” Robertson said. “It's a violent political system bent on the overthrow of the governments of the world and world domination. That is the ultimate aim.”

When asked if he believes Islam is “a violent political system,” McDonnell said no, but he did not condemn Robertson.

“I think that there are people in various religions that do some violent things and they should be judged according to their acts,” he explained. “But I have believed that there are people of all the great religions, that can be enormously helpful in our multicultural Virginia to help them to benefit us in the state.”


Filed under: Bob McDonnell • Extra • Pat Robertson • Virginia
soundoff (36 Responses)
  1. Bob in Pa

    Who cares what CARE thinks. If they have a problem with Pat Robertson, then go talk to Pat Robertson !

    November 18, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  2. m smith

    Boy did Virginia make a mistake. Wait and see. If your not a conservitive evangelical white dude you don't stand a chance. These people think being catholic is radical. The only reason they keep us around is the right to life stuff.Otherwise we are a cult to them too. Wake up America

    November 18, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  3. Peter s

    Pat Robertson’s recent claim that Islam is not a religion, but “a violent political system", is a fallacy of reasoning!. Although there are a few brain washed with jihadism there are still many peace loving muslims. I find no difference between those few Christians egging for violence and the muslim rotten few.

    November 18, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  4. gypsydaveywithablowtorch

    A great response by the Governor-elect, similar to how the Republicans felt about the Reverend Wright's remarks and Obama's response. Right?

    November 18, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  5. John Starnes Tampa Florida

    Give me a break...Christian nations have invaded Muslim coutries for centuries in efforts to control their resources,

    November 18, 2009 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  6. Lee

    How, on the one hand, can McDonnell say he intends to have an "inclusive administration" and, on the other hand, NOT condemn Robertson's bigoted remarks??
    Seems to me he wants it both ways...

    November 18, 2009 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  7. Kate

    What a lier, he is just protecting his pocket book, he can't disagree with Robertson or he won't give him any more money.......that's all the Republicans know.......money, money, money and people with lots of money and big businesses with lots of money........Robertson is one of those that the Lord talks about in the Bible......when we go to Heaven we will see many people that we wouldn't have thought in a thousand years will be there and the ones we most likely expect to see will be no where to be found........(Robertson)

    November 18, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  8. Jacque Bauer

    At least SOMEBODY is willing to stand up against radical Islam and in defense of our nation. Our spineless and constantly genuflexing excuse for a Commander in Chief certainly isn't.

    November 18, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    McDonnell is a wuss! Pat Robertson is a completely wrong in saying that Islam is a political system.

    Robertson is a hateful old fool – and McDonnell doesn't have the guts to stand up to him because he's afraid of losing all the money that gets funneled through Robertson and his band of sheep.

    November 18, 2009 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  10. Frank, Xenia, Ohio

    He's obviously not a seasoned politician (actually, that's a bit of a relief, though hopefully this won't become a liability as he assumes the governorship) or he would have condemned Robertson in a heartbeat.

    November 18, 2009 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  11. Michael N

    I personally disavow Pat Robertson's remark. There! happy?

    He's a nutjob, people. But that doesn't mean the governor has to condone or decry every single remark his donor's make.

    November 18, 2009 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  12. Debbie

    So the people of Virginia got what they voted for. They were warned and aware of McDonnell's views. By his not condemning the Robinson remark he has indirectly stated his views.

    Shame on Robinson and McDonnell but mostly shame on the voters of Virginia for not seeing the wolf in sheeps clothing.

    November 18, 2009 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  13. Chris

    “I’ve got probably 15,000 donors to the campaign and I can’t stand and defend or support every comment that any donor might make,” McDonnell said . - How many of those 15,000 donors have their own TV show? And you're not being asked to defend or support every little comment made. It's not like he dropped some petty remark, like he's not a fan of the Twilight series or something. Robertson made blatantly intolerant and xenophobic statements.

    Notice in McDonnell reply he's afraid to even mention the word "Islam." He just speaks vaguely about "religions."

    November 18, 2009 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  14. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Pat Robertson is wrong for making such a nasty remark and then turn around and call himself a Christian.

    November 18, 2009 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  15. Matt

    I doubt Pat Robertson knows anything about Islam. It's funny that he seems to ignore Christianity's long and checkered past. Here we go again; people arguing over religion. I'm starting to think Marx was wrong.

    November 18, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  16. Gary

    Robertson is responsible for his own comments. This story is nothing more than a liberal media attack on a successful Republican governor of a swing state....please give me a break! CNN do your job, report on the awful economy, the stupid decision to close Gitmo, the healthcare bill that we cannot afford. This is a dumb story.

    November 18, 2009 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  17. Steve, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    The people of Virginia just got waht they voted for, a another right wing Republican, They have no one to balem but themselves..

    November 18, 2009 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Christians and Muslims Fight

    While Israel is loving every minute of it.

    Ever feel like you're being played?

    November 18, 2009 11:06 pm at 11:06 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Pat Robertson , I thought that ignorant holly roller was dead , he looks embalmed ! Muslims or Jew's shouldn't care what he thinks. Pat Robertson’s and his flock think God is going to show up with a broom and clean up his own mess. The word for that is , " Denial" !

    November 18, 2009 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  20. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Ask the Muslim world what they think of the Christian agenda as it applied to the Crusades and world colonization, and I think you'll get the same type of response, too!

    Matter of fact, where do you think they learned it from?

    November 18, 2009 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  21. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    I should be able to believe this, but I can't believe Robertson has the audacity to call Islam a "a political system". What do you think the 700 club is? Why anyone would give this idiot money is beyond me. This is the same guy that said Hitler was sent to send the Jews back home. Give me a break.

    And for McDonnell not to ridicule the stupidity of Robertson's remarks shows Virginians what a class act they just elected.

    November 18, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Well Virginia...you elected him. Now live with the hate,lies and fear....oh yeah...No Healthcare...

    November 18, 2009 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  23. Barbara; IL

    Can these people not just shut their mouths? I think of the saying, "It's better to have people think you are a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt." When others within the Republican party such as McDonnell and other leaders refuse to reject these prejudiced, intolerant, hate filled loudmouths, it says more about the leadership in the Republican party than it does about the radical religious right wingers. The Republicans will not get my vote again until they loudly and clearly reject the likes of Robertson, Beck, Limbaugh, Palin, and the like!

    November 18, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  24. Michael

    Oh Pat- and Oh yea of little testosterone!

    November 18, 2009 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  25. Brian from VA

    As a Virginian who lives in the same town as Pat Robertson, I have to say he is an incredible hypocrite. He preaches charity and kindness yet he only tips 5% at restaurants (me and my friends have waited on him many times). Now he condemns Islam as a violent political system even though he advocates extremist christian philosophy. Pat Robertson is a disgrace to Virginia Beach and VA.

    November 18, 2009 11:31 pm at 11:31 pm |
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