November 19th, 2009
06:03 PM ET
5 years ago

McDonnell won’t disavow Robertson’s Islam remarks

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
soundoff (186 Responses)
  1. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but.....

    Hey Pat Robertson, how many people were killed by Christians today? Have a nice day!

    November 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. Eric

    And so it begins. Spineless, opportunistic, narrow-minded baiting that will not provide solutions but only increase the bunkerism of conservatives.

    McDonnell, a graduate and beneficiary of Robertson's fake religious tax haven, is talking out both sides of his mouth and he is not even at day one of govenorship.

    Good luck to Virginia. Next time take your elections seriously and get out the vote.

    November 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Kevin B

    McDonnell is nothing but a coward.
    Plain and simple spineless coward.

    November 19, 2009 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  4. benvictor

    I voted for Bob. Good man. I doubt whether any of those people voted for him. Bob has a clean house and he welcomes these others, as he said, to help them benefit the State as the other Great Religions are now benefitting the State.

    November 19, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  5. SocialismBad

    Gee, I guess the truth hurts some people! Better we should be politically correct and sacrifice more of people to the likes of Maj. Hassan.

    The radical left and their political correctness prevents us from protecting ourselves for fear of being politically incorrect. The headstones of those 13 people killed should say "I died for political correctness. Please don't do the same."

    November 19, 2009 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  6. Chas in Iowa

    McDonnel has the same philosophy as most GOP candidates. It's not what is morally correct or right for America it's,.........
    "Show me the money"

    November 19, 2009 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  7. cel

    And, Pat Robertson owns the new governor. So much for our political system.

    November 19, 2009 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  8. JB

    I am sure that's what he would have said if he had been asked about Obama and Rev. Wright.

    November 19, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. Joe in CT - not Lieberman!!!

    Let me get this straight – he courted Muslims for their votes, but won't contradict the guy who awarded him his Master's Degree. And they wonder why the Republicans come off as hypocrits?

    November 19, 2009 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. Travis In Colorado

    Why should McDonnell disavow that comment? He didn't say it, and besides, it's true. Freedom of speech baby. Muslims can talk and talk about destroying America, and they're protected by freedom of speech. But if one true American tries to defend this country and talk about Islam, God forbid. If muslims don't like the way they're perceived, THEY need to take the steps to improve they way we look at them, NOT the other way around. Thank you Mr. McDonnell, for standing up for America and true Americans!

    November 19, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  11. Sniffit

    Regent University and its law school are a sham...a glaring disgrace to our education system in this country. You can't deny it with a straight face after hearing about the sexist, fundamentalist drivel McConnell wrote in his thesis paper to prove he had been successfully indoctrinated. Nor need it be even remotely questioned why Bush packed the Justice Department with automatons who received their programming there.

    November 19, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  12. Eric

    I'm a Virginia resident and I'm ashamed that we've elected the most socially conservative state government in the union. McDonnell hasn't even been sworn in yet and the hate speak has started. The next four years will be scary here in Virginia.

    November 19, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  13. Bren

    Pat Robertson is right. Muslims who believe in Sharia Law--cannot assimmilate and be part of Western cultures--as everything/anything in Western countries is totally against Sharia Law.

    And, just like in Australia, UK, Canada, etc.-–once the Muslims gain more power/control in the US--they will DEMAND and use threats of violence-–that Sharia Law be included as part of our government.

    And, really, who cares if the Republicans received donations from Pat Robertson and the 700 Club-–look at all of the VERY questionable/unethical donations that Obama received--including donations from people/organizations connected to Hamas.

    November 19, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  14. tommygunn

    This is clearly where POLITICs and RELIGION sometimes are at a crossroad. The same was said of OBAMA with Rev Wright.

    Often the REGIOUS leaders make statements that are purely within their own convictions and back them up with the bible. Many of their members don't agree 100% with their views, while working to align themselves with GOD.

    I commend the MOSLEM group for wanting balance GOOD PUBLICITY on their BEHALF of a PUBLIC OFFICIAL.

    Now as REPUBLICANs and DEMOCRATs we must treat ALL PEOPLE WITH RESPECT & DIGNITY. Which means PUBLIC elected leaders SHOULD MAKE DISCLAIMERs and RE-ENFORCE THEIR BELIEFs.

    November 19, 2009 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  15. shucks

    This is consistent with republican racism and idealogy. If you need their vote you'll stoop to their level. Once your in, you have no use for them.

    November 19, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  16. mms55

    robertson need's to take a look at in his own religion,there just as bad.As far as i'm concerned all orginized religion needs to go!they both cater to religious fanatic's.How many abortion doctor's have been killed by these nut jobs.

    November 19, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  17. WI Vet

    Now that is elected and have there vote you see how much he cares now

    November 19, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  18. ker

    I think it's quite revealing that

    "Muslim groups have called on McDonnell to condemn the remark"

    Yet I never hear "Muslim groups have condemned the suicide bombing of (insert
    terrorist act here)".

    Nor have I heard Muslim groups condemning the mass murder
    at Fort Hood my one of thier own.

    Speaks volumes.

    November 19, 2009 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  19. Jeff W.

    I despise Pat Robertson but he's absolutely correct.

    November 19, 2009 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. GAK

    Well Virginian's,You just got your first real look at what Bob believes and how the next 4 years are going to be like..Pat Robertson's new Virginia starts in Jan.

    November 19, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  21. Marie Laveaux

    Just goes to show us that not only is Robertson hateful but ignorant as well. Islam is no more a political system than any other religion. While some Muslim countries are theocratic and enforce Sharia laws, they are in the minority. Most Muslim countries are run by secular governments. While it is good to know that McDonnell does not share Robertson's view, he is wrong when he says he cannot condemn Robertson's comment. Robertson is not just any small-time donor.

    November 19, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  22. Ray

    Ha! fact is all religions are nothing more than violent political systems.

    November 19, 2009 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  23. surprise, not really

    why would this guy disavow statements he believes are true? nothing in this guy's past or present would support his having a core respect of other human's right to worship as they believe with being subjected to religeous intolorance. He managed to distance himself from the radical christian beliefs that he revealed just a few years ago, but time will continue to reveal that this is a radical christian who will not respect the rights of others or protect them legally.

    November 19, 2009 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. Richp

    When are these Muslim groups going to AS VOCAL about terrorists as they are about this.

    November 19, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  25. Carole

    You poor Virginians....you were snookered.

    I now wonder about the comments of disrespecting women.

    November 19, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
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