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. hypocricnnation

    This And Yet Foolish Ill Considered Republicans Will Preach Their Hypocrisy About The President And Democrats.

    August 17, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  2. Tom-Vermillion Ohio

    Regarding first paragraph in article: 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."
    My comment: Did I miss something here? Show me transcripts with dates and times on everything President Obama said in public with respect to this mosque. What I heard and read was quite benign and neutral, he basically referenced the 1st Amendment and would not comment on the 'wisdom' of the mosque. Where was it that President Obama 'decision to back the construction' of an Islamic center near WTO? Where was the 'endorsement'?

    August 17, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  3. Peter E

    Facts that CNN deliberately, repeatedly ommits: 1. It's not a mosque. While there will be prayer space in the community center, it is far short of being recognized as a mosque even by muslims. 2. It is being built on PRIVATE PROPERTY! Are republicans now in favor of government takeovers? 3. Most muslims in America are NOT arabs. They are African-Americans and good citizens. 4. Most arabs in America are not muslims. They are Christians. Why the heck do you think they came to America in the first place? 5. This IS about racism against arabs, this isn't about the location. All over the country, even in California people keep protesting building of any mosques (and ONLY mosques, not churches or synagouges) always equating Islam with arabs, terrorists, and Al Quaida specifically. How is that NOT religious discrimination?

    August 17, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Seth

    I think the Republicans made a mistake with the Mosque controversy, they stepped so far to the Right that they have stepped outside of the U.S Constitution and that will hurt the Republicans with Independent voters.

    Can you imagine if Obama was given the power to stop the Mosque by ignoring the 1th Amendment, then Obama would then have the power to close down FoxNews and even outlaw the republican Party – Is that really what the Republicans want?

    August 17, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. diridi

    I hate this guy. He is the biggest idiot in the nation.....I do not give a dime for this guy....He talks absolutely no sense at all....what is wrong with Mosque...when "Pentagon" has it......Is it greater than Pentagon....????

    August 17, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Jan

    Just another two faced Republican.

    August 17, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Bill

    ONE MORE TIME. Obama did not back the project. He said that in America we have religious freedoms and those in favor of a mosque in lower Manhattan have the right to build it (assuming availability of the land, funding, etc.). Obama DID NOT SAY that he is in favor of building a mosque at that particular location. Obama DID NOT SAY that it's a good idea to build the mosque in that location.

    People need to grow some brains and actually listen to what is being said.

    August 17, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. Limbaugh is a liberal

    George W. Bush has repeatedly, unambigously quoted that Islam is a 'religion of peace,' and yet not ONE person in his party criticized him for it. Now if a democrat says that muslims have a right to worship on their own private property, suddenly he is being insensitive? And republicans can still say the exact same thing and not be criticized? HYPOCRISY!!!

    August 17, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. Blkman

    WASTE of time and money. Why not just admit your a RACIST pig? What would happen................the American people notice the TRUTH. OMG!

    August 17, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. bobby

    boehmer is a complete idiot!!!!!

    August 17, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. john

    I'm glad the first amendment's guarantee of freedom of religion matters to at least one Republican.

    August 17, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Marie MD

    Flip/flop orange man! Nothing new here but this shows what a hypocrital piece of manure boner is.

    August 17, 2010 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Rick McDaniel

    Boehner has already demonstrated his unpredictability, and to some degree some strangeness, in his behavior, so seeing some more, is not surprising.

    August 17, 2010 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Dal From California

    John Boehner will support a repub who is correct in the legal right of every religious organization to have equal rights under the American constitution, yet he will say the President of USA is incorrect in taking a stand for equality of religious organizations.
    Mr. Boehner should remember that the American constitution is the top law in this country and not the law he creates by his mind. If Mr. Boehner wants to remain as a legislator he should believe in the American Constitution and use that to guide his actions.

    August 17, 2010 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Deborah/Kansas City

    Our Country has become so hateful. All you ever hear are lies and name calling from the Republicans. How can these people rant about taking our country back to the "constitution" and then every day they have a new way to dismantle it and take away our rights.

    I believe that there is a move on in the Republican Party to do away with the separation of Church and State. Sharon Angle for sure wants the clergy to set the laws. Religious freedom and separation of curch and state is the most important protection we have from religious zealots.

    Americans had better wake up and soon or we will no longer have the freedom we so brag about to other nations.

    August 17, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Typical hypocritical politics, swaying in the wind of public opinion. I'm sorry folks but the Constitution is the law of the land and is not subject to the popularity of the religion asking for freedom to exist. This is not something to take lightly, as it may be YOUR religion that is unpopular the next time.

    August 17, 2010 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  17. ann farrar

    why are people hating so much about where they build the mosque .people are just haters if it was christians,jews, and any group but muslims they would not cry wolf but they have to understand the mulism have not did one thing to this country look what the skinheads, the kkk done to our people is that right. No one complains! they raped, beat, & hung our mens and boys and still doing it in the south is that right no one complanning in RICHMOND VA. VCU have garage built on black graves is that right so wake up america and look at whats going on every thing around us is ok for some people.and good for the haters

    Richmond, Va

    August 17, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Billy, NYC

    I agree with Gibson that "any attempt to single out Islam would be a violation of the Constitution". I cannot imagine some folks actually condem all Muslims in American and deniel their rights to religion freedom. This is sad.

    Do they know that Americans are no longer represent only by white anymore? Shall we condem Christian and burn the bible when some American terrorists conduct harms to the people in the name of Christian GOD and beliefs? Too much hate in America right now. The most disturbing is the politician fan the flame and spread the hatred in the media. Where is hope in this country?

    August 17, 2010 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. Doyle Wiley, MI

    So much for America being a country of laws.

    August 17, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. RAG

    Simple. Boner has no principles except "seize power, hold power, use power".

    August 17, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    I see that the 2nd in command of job creation is at it again His rebel General Mcconnell is being side stepped in their job creation endeavor. Their ideas for job creating is to start more wars . Wars need employees hence military gets bigger, also means many lose their life so the funeral buisness has more jobs as due the hospitals need more employees. the defense industry gets bigger and wall street richer. This did not work for Bush and will not work for these two cowards who like to send other peoples kids off to war.Boehner and his general from Kentucky try and get more GOP politicians elected but it won't work DEMS will be THE NO NO protectors of Americas kids not GOP draft dodgers.

    August 17, 2010 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. ABM

    Typical politician. Republican obstructionist follow their own set of rules and support each other. They bash the Democrats for following the Constitution and the Bill of Rights yet they turn a blind eye to help out a person who has the same opinion but is a fellow Republican. How honest can you get?

    Republican party since 2000 = Epic FAIL

    August 17, 2010 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  23. Randolph Carter, i'm no expert, but...

    Hey, no making fun of Boner is allowed. That would be racism. He is, after all, the first Oompa Loompa-American house minority leader. Have a nice day!

    August 17, 2010 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. Doyle Wiley, MI

    It’s unfortunate that politics is more important than the Constitution of the United States of America.

    August 17, 2010 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  25. JonDie

    Typical two-faced GOP hypocrite.

    August 17, 2010 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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