August 17th, 2010
11:35 AM ET
4 years ago

Boehner to raise money for Republican who backed mosque

 House Minority Leader John Boehner is scheduled to headline a fundraiser for a New York Republican candidate who backed plans to construct an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site.
House Minority Leader John Boehner is scheduled to headline a fundraiser for a New York Republican candidate who backed plans to construct an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site.

Washington (CNN) - House Minority Leader John Boehner came out forcefully against President Obama's decision to back the construction of an Islamic center near the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, calling the endorsement "deeply troubling."

But Boehner is scheduled to headline a fundraiser in upstate New York on Friday for a Republican House candidate who recently took a position quite similar to Obama's.

The candidate, Chris Gibson, is challenging Democratic Rep. Scott Murphy in New York's 20th congressional district. On his Facebook page last Wednesday, Gibson responded to a voter who wanted to know his position on the controversial project.


A former Army officer and Iraq combat veteran, Gibson condemned Islamic extremism and expressed sympathy for the families of 9/11 victims. But he also said that "any attempt to single out Islam would be a violation of the Constitution." American Muslims "are friends and good citizens and we must honor their right to practice their religion," he said.

Emotions about 9/11 run high, Gibson wrote, "but in my view, as it relates to religious buildings in the vicinity of Ground Zero, it's either all or nothing – churches synagogues and mosques should be treated the same."

That post, forwarded to CNN by a Democrat following the race, has since been removed from Gibson's Facebook page. Dan Odescalchi, a spokesman for Gibson, said he wasn't sure why the post was removed but said there some "nasty things" written on the candidate's Facebook profile and several posts were removed by staff as a consequence.

Asked if Gibson still supports the right to construct the mosque, Odescalchi directed CNN to a newer Facebook post in which Gibson advocates for a 9/11 memorial "that celebrates all religions and mankind's hope for peace.

A spokesman for Boehner had no comment on Gibson's statement.

UPDATE: The original version of this post failed to mention that in his original Facebook post, Gibson also suggested a way to sidestep the controversy: re-zone the private property on which the proposed mosque will be built.

Gibson's full comment was as follows: "Given the emotions associated with this sacred ground, it may be best to zone this land either commercial or state park," he wrote. "But in my view, as it relates to religious buildings in the vicinity of Ground Zero, it's either all or nothing – churches synagogues and mosques should be treated the same."


Filed under: 2010 • Chris Gibson • issues • John Boehner • New York • Scott Murphy
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Rush Goebbels

    Enough bag money can change anyones mind in either party.

    August 17, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Grog in Ohio

    The conservative and GOP mantra is apparently that logic and consistency are for chumps.

    August 17, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. dale

    So we have one Repub that understands the Constitution and a normal Repub who doesn't care what it says.

    August 17, 2010 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. Jeff in TX

    The Republicans are running wild on this one, and there is no coherent message. The issue remains at its essence a local issue, with Republican Governor Bloomberg strongly in favor. On the other hand, we have Gingrich with his Nazi Germany and WWII Japan garbage. And now this.

    August 17, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Anybody else notice that as the news for our inept, corrupt president gets worse and the reality that the liberals reign of terror and corruption in Congress is coming to an end, the stock market gets better? Just have to make sure the union toadys that get defeated this November and their idiot president don't do anything even more stupid and destructive to the country between November and January. They are so inept, disorganized, mismanaged and stupid that the chances are they can't get themselves together, but we will have to watch just the same.

    August 17, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. blue

    This guy is clueless on every issue.

    August 17, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Boehner's tan

    So in other words, this Republican said the SAME THING Obama said (Obama was only incoherent if you're a blithering idiot) and Boehner slams one guy and not the other?

    Then Boehner says he's a patriot and public servant?

    BWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

    The only thing Boehner is serving is himself. He's no American lawmaker of any caliber. I hope Ohio does this country a BIG favor and kicks him to the curb!

    August 17, 2010 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. GL

    How many minority groups are you Republicans fools going to attack this year just to get your racist base excited? Republicans is the party of hate and race baiting. Republicans think they are everybody God. Republicans needs to leave the Mexico and Muslims before they start another civil war you haters.

    August 17, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. Jill-IN

    What a surprise – the do as I say and not as I do crowd.

    August 17, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. GL

    How many minority groups are you Republicans fools going to attack this year just to get your racist base excited? Republicans is the party of hate and race baiting. Republicans think they are everybody God. Republicans needs to leave the Mexico and Muslims along before they start another civil war you haters.

    August 17, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  11. larry

    Boner pulls another boner. What a surprise.

    August 17, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  12. Rush Goebbels

    Why have little Johnny here as their middleman,lets just make Ben Barnackle,the head of the Fed the new President.

    August 17, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  13. Colorado Liberal

    Yet another red herring from the GOP.

    Mr. Boehner, a word of advice for you and your GOP colleagues:

    Talk a lot less and follow President Obama's lead. There are a lot of unemployed people in this country and the GOP doesn't seem to care at all.

    You appear to have few if any ideas of your own, Mr. Boehner, and this country certainly doesn't need your moralizing or your platitudes.

    August 17, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Lisa P

    But he also said that "any attempt to single out Islam would be a violation of the Constitution." American Muslims "are friends and good citizens and we must honor their right to practice their religion," he said.

    Hooray for Chris Gibson!

    That post... has since been removed from Gibson's Facebook page.

    Oops. Or maybe not.

    It must be tough being a Republican who actually believes in the Constitution. So many of them don't.

    August 17, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  15. GOP Scorched-Earth Politics

    So he kinda sorta supports the Constitution except when it doesn't lend itself well to his fear-mongering xenophobhia-racist agenda.

    August 17, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. AEK

    Actually he's really secretly raising money to pay for his membership to Tan Huts and to pay for his trip to the Master's next spring!

    August 17, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Jerry - Florida

    For some reason, I thought Mr. Boehner was smarter than that. Oh well, I guess I was wrong.

    August 17, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Squiggs

    The republicans are a bunch of hypocrits. They always talk about the constitution when it comes to guns and and other freedoms. I guess they forgot about freedom of religion. They say that the towers were taken down in the name of Islam. They forgot that slavery and the following doctrine segration and the persecution of millions of blacks was done in the name of Christianity. Let's not fogot what was done to the American Indians who were considered heathens becasue they were not Christians. The Republicans claim to always love what America stands for until its time to live up to what we stand for. This country was founded on religious freedom and was always strong enough to overcome anything that challenged our basic freedoms with the idea that freedom equaled might. If we change then the terrorist have already won and the Republicans can't run around claiming that they The terrorist "hate us for who are". WHen the Republicans get finish with us we won't be able to recognize ourselves.

    August 17, 2010 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. steven harnack

    Anyone who fails to see the daily hypocrisy of the Republicans is choosing to be blind. They will support any cause that feeds on bigotry and hatred, no matter how repugnant to American ideals. Instead of appealing to the best in people they wallow in ignorance.

    August 17, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  20. beth

    when is CNN and other news agencies going to get this right. It's not a Mosque, it's a community center. It's not AT GROUND ZERO, it's 2 blocks away.

    Question, if a Christian extremist found out a OBGYN practice performed abortions and blew it up...would we want to stop a Christian Church from being built 2 blocks from there?

    August 17, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  21. MB Seattle

    What is it about the Republican party? They say they uphold the Constitution but when it comes to religious freedom they can not backpedal faster.

    Obama voiced an unpopular point of view about the mosque that is proposed to built at near ground zero because it is his job to defend the constitution even if t is not popular.

    God help us if Republicans gain seats in this next election. Will they defend the Constitution or take the easy way out? Do you want them in charge of your religious freedoms? They sound like the Taliban to me.

    August 17, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. Rick

    Two faced Republicans. It's alright for them to do but not others. They only want to use the part of the constitution they see fit..

    August 17, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  23. Sue

    This is the Party that says one thing and does another.......they put Obama down for standing up for the Constitution, whether America likes it or not it is the Constitution and if it stands for ONE it stands for ALL.....but Boenher say he's against it but yet he supports a man that agrees with Obama.......so all these remarks about Obama are not what they truely believe but if it will make him look bad or take awayt votes from him the Republicans will say what ever it takes whether they truely mean it or not.......is that the kind of politicians you want running this country or someone that speaks the truth whether you like it or not......at least Obama spoke the truth

    August 17, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  24. jimmy carter

    Why oh why can't we get our senses together and do what is right for all of us. Let them build their mosque and help them find a place away from such a controversial location. I have a feeling that they knew what would happen when plans were announced. Wouldn't you agree.

    I also feel that there will be harsh action all the way through their attempt to build. I'm just glad I want be around.

    August 17, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. Watching in NC

    Politicians are chameleons, and will take on whatever position suits the moment.

    August 17, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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