November 19th, 2009
06:03 PM ET
4 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. Ted from Calif.

    This just goes to show how the religious right is out of touch with reality.

    November 19, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  2. Lulu'

    It's incredible, but for once I have to agree with Pat Robertson.

    islam has became infact exactly that, a violent and repressive political system.

    November 19, 2009 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. IndyVoter

    Of course not! He agrees with him. So sorry for you Virginia. But, you get what you ask (vote) for. lol.

    November 19, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. Reagan was wrong

    Of course he won't. The GOP base loves that kind of crap. Although they only account for about 20% of the population, they've become 100% of the GOP, so you can't risk alienating them by speaking out against racism and xenophobia.

    November 19, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Dreams

    Pat Robertson, I wish you would have more impact on US foreign policy, World would be better place to live. I guess you made the point and that needs to curtail ASAP.

    November 19, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. NH Independent

    All Robertson did was speak the truth......Has anyone seen a muslim on the news come out against the terrorists and terrorist attacks by muslims againt the United States? Until they speak up against the violence it is was it is.......

    November 19, 2009 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. single mom

    Well, all things considered, Islam is the most violent religion right now. (No, I do not need a history lesson about the crusades – believe it or not – that period was violent on BOTH sides!)
    Islam DOES combine state and religion – Sharia law anyone? Imans have spoken out stating that their goal is to install Sharia law throughout the world. If this doesn't fit in with how the majority of Muslims feel and believe then they need to stand up and put an end to the extremism.

    November 19, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. Republican'ts are so YESTERDAY

    Another divisive Republican't taking money from religious extremists . . . . so what else is new? The evengelical religious right in this country are ALSO extremists and are ALSO very dangerous to our country.

    November 19, 2009 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  9. Bob in Pa

    Why should he, we still have Freedom of Speech here don't we ? Let CARE go talk to Robertson himself if they have a problem with what he said. I think comparing Islam to a political system gives it too much credit, it's more like a cult.

    November 19, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  10. Billy Smith

    I think your headline is misleading. He didn't say he would not disavow the statement. He gave a typical political first amendment excuse/defense.

    He didn't disavow it but didn't say he wouldn't either. I am Virginian and am not a Republican and am not happy that he won, but this particular story seems very slanted to me.

    November 19, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  11. Todd

    What did they expect? that this creature had changed his spots? He is a robertson devotee, why would he question fatwahs and decrees from the annointed one?

    M'thinks VA is in for a serious case of buyers remorse. Jersey is going to get it even worse.

    November 19, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  12. LouAz

    Robertson's claim that Christianity is not a religion, but “a violent political system” is correct. Oops. Sorry. Got the religions confused. Onward Christian Soldiers !

    Separation of church and State ? Apparently not South of the Mason Dixon line. Guess they have a different US Constitution than the rest of the United States of America. Don't they call it the Confederacy ?

    November 19, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  13. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    I like this guy already. :-)

    November 19, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  14. LacrosseDad

    i wouldn't disavow that statement either.

    November 19, 2009 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  15. Bill from CA

    That's disgusting. McDonnell's responsibility is to the people of VA, not to be brown-nosing some right wing religious nutjob filled with hate.

    November 19, 2009 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  16. Charlotte

    Idiots, both of them.

    November 19, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  17. S Callahan

    I do believe there are some that are just so irred that a bonofied leader is a Christian and would do anything to try to make waves..fourtunately for him he has a God that stills the waters.

    The Lord is clear we are not to judge, that is his role alone, yet that does not discount for the right to think freely. I know Muslims that are loving, law abiding, and deeply caring about the downtrodden as Jesus asks us to be. As far as the political aspect of it....well, how can that be discounted when it is documented in the media with their 'own words' from the Islamic leadership (or ones claiming leadership).

    November 19, 2009 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  18. Fan of Common Sense

    Maybe like many intelligent people, politically uncorrect people, McDonnell realizes that Islam is a cancer to the U.S.........and the entire world.

    November 19, 2009 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  19. EZ

    Of course not, isn't that so typical of Republicans. They are quick to banish others while sinning themselves. McDonnell just prove that he's just another HYPOCRITE Republican who hides behind folks like Pat Robertson and their bibles whenever it's convenient for their sinning ways!!! I'm not surprised by this at all.

    It's these so-called "Christian Values" the GOP Leadership hides behind and uses as a shield to HIDE their true SINS and BIGOTRY.

    November 19, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  20. Rob DePour

    Wow those words of wisdom from Pat Robertson prove that he must be divinely inspired. What a genius!

    November 19, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  21. steve

    Breaking News:
    In an attempt to show her foreign policy heft, President Palin appeared on Hannity last night.
    Hannity asked what can be done to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons.
    President Palin: Crack down on `Iraq` to prevent nuclear Iran .
    I hope this is not a sign of Bush 3 on steroids by invading the wrong country by mistake and just say OOPS my Bad.

    November 19, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  22. Doyle Wiley, MI

    Nothing to see here folks, please keep moving. Freedom of Speech.

    November 19, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  23. H .Charles

    This is why Pat Robertson is an idiot: Is he going to come out and say the same about the Catholic Church? Because not only have they murdered people over centuries, just recently they've joined the political debate about whether or not to allow homosexuals to marry and have said that if same-sex marriage is allowed in DC they would cut funding to social programs. Sounds like a the Catholic church is engaging in politics which would make them a political system like Islam, right? I don't claim a religion because I think religion is a perversion and you're seeing it live from Pat Robertson.

    November 19, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  24. Doug - Dallas

    Typical, follow the money not the voters. Muslims and all Virginians should be extremely disappointed that their new governor will not speak out against those who preach hate regardless of who they are.

    November 19, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. doug

    Kudos to McDonnell for telling it like it is. I think the time has come for the U.S. to NOT be politcally correct. Congratulations to you Virginia for electing such a straight shooting Gov.!!

    November 19, 2009 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
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