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

Boehner to raise money for Republican who backed mosque

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption =" 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. Brian

    Typical hypocrite. Bash Obama but support a republican with the same stance. Obama made it clear that he is for freedom of religious expression but not necessarily for the building of the Mosque on ground zero. It is like not being for abortion but still realizing that a woman has the right to choose what goes on with her body.

    August 17, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  2. Robert J

    is somone saying Boehner is :two faced" ? How can that be – a top republican "leader" without moral compass or family values? – twisting words to suit the issue? – Flip flopping to cow tow to the party line? acting like gingerich, armey and all the other spineless republicans? what else should we expect? no more I am sure!

    August 17, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  3. one voice

    This ORANGE CLOWN talks out of both sides of his mouth. He and Mitch are so OUT OF TOUCH with the AVERAGE AMERICANS it's really not funny any more. They rubber stamped the FAILED Bush Policies and will do it all over again if given the chance. Employing these CLOWNS at the cost of the AMERICAN TAXPAYER is like burning the ECONOMIC candle at both ends. The IGNORANT LEMMINGS that continue to vote against their own interests are the ones to blame, WAKE UP FOOLS!!!

    August 17, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  4. Former Republican - Now Independent

    Well, if Hollywood needed another actor to place "Two-Face" in a Batman movie, they need look no further than John Boehner.

    ... and they wouldn't even have to use extra makeup!

    August 17, 2010 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  5. Clwyd

    Boner Boehner isn't as stupid as I thought! He believes in religious freedom, unlike so many in the party of No. The Mosque has been there for 40 years are the people who are against its remodeling it all right wing religious nuts? No they are members of the Party of NO!

    August 17, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  6. Larry

    Boner is such a lying piece of work. Everything that comes out of his mouth.........

    August 17, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Dave

    They're all in this together. two names, one party.

    August 17, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. Bill, NY

    It seem s that people want to go back to the bad old days of republican rule. They are clueless on EVERYTHING!! They only seem to against anything the president is for the sake of being against him. They have no ideas or true vision. God deliver us from these total idiots.

    August 17, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. lucy2

    Gibson sounds like a level headed, rational, open minded guy. A couple of years in Congress will probably wreck that though!

    August 17, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. sharon

    now see...................the 2 parties can agree on some things..........

    good ole' boehner

    August 17, 2010 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Sniffit

    Honestly, to be consistent rather than hypocritical, I have to take the position that this doesn't matter and that this is, for the most part, a non-story. The mosque-not-at-ground-zero is a NON-ISSUE. The law is the law and that's that...if it makes you upset or wet your pampers or boohoohoo then suck it up. Sure, Boehner is acting unsuprisingly hypocritical, but we can really just chalk it up to implicit recognition and a tacit admission from a leading GOPer that the whole "controversy" that's been stirred up over this is BASELESS NONSENSE.

    Boehner: yabba dabba lotsa blabba, yet he says so little.

    August 17, 2010 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    I'm Sorry Hamby first President Obama didn't back the Islamic Center, The First Amendment of the Armerica Consitution did. House Minority Leader John Boehner came out forcefully against President Obama's decision to back the construction of an Islamic center. Maybe John Boehner forgot about the Consitution or use it when he want. Now Boehner is scheduled to headline a fundraiser in upstate New York on Friday for a Republican House candidate Chris Gibson who took a position of President Obama. House Minority Leader John Boehner CAN'T HAVE IT BOTH WAYS

    August 17, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Ted

    Boner and the rest of the ignorant Repukelicans totally missed what Obama said and they are twisting the comment to their own political aims.

    Obama stated that the constitution allows religion to be practiced freely and openly.

    The emotional issue is real. But the constitution will prevail and it should. There were Muslim Americans that died in the 9/11 attacks but no one realizes that.

    August 17, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  14. REG in AZ

    President Obama's statement regarding the mosque was accurate when addressing 'rights' and it should be seen as such but it would have been politically more beneficial if he had just not said it. I guess he felt compelled, as the President of all Americans, to honestly and accurately state everyone's rights. Now Reid and most other politicians are taking the politically more acceptable and expedient way (and using that position to try to impact public opinion). Maybe Obama isn't the better politician but then maybe that really is a compliment.

    August 17, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. REG in AZ

    Without any doubt the Bush-Cheney presidency was the worst ever. This was obvious in their arrogant and belligerent attitude, their irresponsible concentration on a private agenda to benefit only the few and the resulting drastic costs and problems. Since then the Republican Party has been obnoxious and irresponsible in criticizing and obstructing all efforts to address the problems, without ever providing anything positive and rather with just being totally focused on their political ambitions at all cost and without any conscience. Their strong supporters, those who greatly benefit from those actions, have consistently, both overtly and covertly, attempted to reassign blame for the problems and to use subterfuge to manipulate and control public opinion. They now try to hold the Obama administration responsible for the problems while actually seeking to maintain the problems and to then sway people’s thinking and to thus support their regaining power. All of this clearly indicates a complete lack of conscience and an irresponsible, self-serving gross dishonesty.

    Without debating the value of Republican v Democratic principals / philosophies and instead recognizing that the aforementioned actions really represent neither and rather present just a totally self-serving mentality and course of action that can’t possibly ever benefit the majority of Americans, as was already proven, it then simply becomes reasonable just to ask “Why aren’t all Americans insulted and offended by being taken for granted and then totally alienated by the constant deceptive efforts and the costs inherent in those actions?” We really could use both parties to be responsible and honest in offering bipartisan cooperation to fine tune all efforts and to resolve the problems but with that being withheld for political advantage, then the subterfuge and the irresponsibility should be recognized and totally rejected. That is really the only way we will ever get the return and benefit of the real Grand Ole Party. What they say isn’t even worth considering when what they do clearly spells out their deception. To now condone or to be conned into returning to ‘more of the same’ would be a disaster that once again would serve only the interests of the very few.

    August 17, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  16. April in Denver

    Typical for Boehner to criticize the prez for... anything, even when another Repub has said the samething. He could at least try not to appear hypocritical, but maybe Repubs who don't like Pres Obama don't care about that.

    August 17, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Donald

    Oh no its the liberals and obama making him say that, lol. Lets hear the usual spin cons, lol. i wonder if fox news going to show this story. i guess about as much as they report healthcare, which btw was suppose to be obama waterloo, LOL

    August 17, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. The unsub

    I am going to agree with this. The President needs to keep the message simple; after all, recent opinions and events (birhters going to trial; Tea Party) have proven that his message is getting lost amongst the 'eduactionally-challenged".

    You have to KISS your message Mr. President. I can understand how the CONSTANT berating and your every action microscopically analyzed can make you falter and try to 'change up' your game. My unsolicited advise is DON'T. Keep doing what worked for you during the campaign. There are a great number of us that see what you're trying to accomplish and are ready to embrace it.

    Be who you are Mr. President: intelligent yet down-to-earth. You have NEVER fitted the "stereotype" of the scary Black man, that's why you reach across all color lines. Don't let them box you in sir. Be YOU.
    ---Dominican Mama 4 Obama

    I love you for this!

    August 17, 2010 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. Orange Clown

    And we're supposed to be surprised? This is the hypocracy the republican party has and always will represent as long as these morons are in congress! bunch of republican idiots

    August 17, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Four and The Door

    More important than this whole discussion is when are we going to bring Bin Laden and crew to justice? I only hope that our military is not having their hands tied in the aggressive pursuit of these murderers.

    August 17, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. C Smith

    Is this any surprise coming from the orange one?

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

    I'm not religious or anything... but this is America, and we do have a little thing called freedom of religion (not to mention, separation of religion and state, so why government officials even discuss the mosque issue is beyond me). How can you be a politician and support issues that go against the basic freedoms of this land? Can we all just accept that the republican party has become racist and prejudiced with a complete lack of common sense or dignity?

    August 17, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  23. Peter (CA)

    Wait, that would make him a hypocrite.


    August 17, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  24. bbrooker

    Boehner, what a snake. I realize politics are politics, but can Republicans be any more hypocritical, two faced, and subversive to America??

    August 17, 2010 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  25. mike

    the tan man wants it both ways by changing the Constitution first it was the 14th amendment now the 1st on what will get him the most votes but were are all the religious leaders are they out to lunch they are the ones that should be taking a stand on this issue but I guess money talks and bull crap walks lets not get our church goers mad its always about dividing americans on issues that don't cost anything to big business it is never about solutions that will help americans republicans suck

    August 17, 2010 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
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