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. RJ

    Boehner is out of touch. He doesn't understand the Constitution.

    August 17, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. Fernando

    Classic case of politicians being hypocrites!

    August 17, 2010 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. HJA

    Hey Bonehead....can you say two faced? Oops, I'm the first post...CNN won't run it.

    August 17, 2010 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. BJs65

    Typical hypocrite. It's ok when "one of his own" backs the mosque, but if someone on the "other side" backs it – oh no! Bad Bad Bad!

    GOP = Hypocrisy

    August 17, 2010 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. richard in montana

    Boehner is the king of the hypocrites!

    August 17, 2010 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  6. Laverne

    Of course, John Bonehead is nothing but a hypocrite like his buddies!

    August 17, 2010 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. Chaco

    Just seeing a picture of this poser is "deeply troubling".

    August 17, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  8. PubcrawlerNW

    For me, I am much more concerned about the GOP's loonies than I am about Islamic loonies. Why do Republicans always feel the need to let their freaks call the tune? I guess all you have to do to get politcial attention is froth at the mouth. The ridiculousness of the policy position advocated for doesn't seem to count. Gibson had it right in his first posting and I really admire his view. Then somebody told him that his party's toons were going to go ape and presto-bingo the freak show wins again.

    August 17, 2010 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  9. jim

    Long ago, the KKK marched on Washington. As much as it hurt the nation, they still did it, because they had the right of free speech.

    The same with the Nazis in Skokie. It really sucked to have them there, but they had a right – as long as they were peaceful.

    I have loved ones in the ground because of the evils of alcohol, as much as it hurts me to see people drunk, they have the right to buy and consume it.

    If we bend the Constitution, then what the hell good is it!! Throw it into the fire, along with the country we call "Free".

    It really bothers me to hear people like John Boehner go against the very foundation of our country – the Constitution. These people are against the freedom we enjoy.

    I can't imagine what else they would like to bend in the Constitution. Get ready folks !!!

    We call the terrorist – "Enemies of Freedom". But if our leaders deny Americans their rights based on the Constitution, in any way, then we are truly not free – and I would say because of that – the terrorist won.

    August 17, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. bill

    perhaps we should let some 'radical' Christians blow up the mosque, then the government would let us build a church near the mosque site.

    August 17, 2010 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Pkm

    Go ahead and cry scream and show your temper when the word brat is used john they had you in mine

    August 17, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. Frank from Gilroy

    The President stated a fact. "It is unconstitutional to deny the Mosque based on religion".
    Unlike the GOP who say they are all for the Constitution unless it is in opposition of there hate or fear campaigns. At least he has the balls to say something that is a fact and that he knows is going to be a looser from a political standpoint.
    The media is wacked for running with this story. Once again letting Faux News run them down a rat hole and then finding out they have to follow because there is no way back to reality.
    The Media knows the Constitution states exactly what the president said and still they do nonstop reporting on the emotion of a factual statement.

    August 17, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Viet. Veteran

    Lets see the same hypocrites who refuse to vote for extention of medical care and benefits for the first responders who responded to Ground Zero where they were exposed to and experience all type of medical problems, but now ,these blow hards think they see another fear mongering angle so here they go again, appeal to the americans who lack common sense or judgement and then they will vote for us and forget how we screwed up when we were in power. May God continue to watch over fools and babies.

    August 17, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. BOnIllusion

    If you want to be a politician... the very first thing on your todo list is to.... get rid of a trait called honesty.. Its sad we spend a lot of time, effort & resource on these crooks!!

    August 17, 2010 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |

    Republicans: you never know which side of their two faces they're talking from.

    Boehner: hypocritical much?

    August 17, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. dj

    Republicans! This word has become synonymous to HYPOCRITES. Actually, it is a more accurate descroption of what HYPOCRITES are.

    These guys must thing everyone is stupid and they are the only smart ones. And you know what! They are probably right because 47% of the American electorate (that about 100,000,000 million Americans) vote Republican. That a lot of stupid Americans. Come on people, wake up.


    August 17, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  17. normajean

    John Boehner is one of the most useless politicians that has ever shown his hypocritc face in Washington. He has voted against everything to help the struggling workers and now just to get his face on camera again is getting into the Mosque discussion.This person{not a man} hasn't an ounce of character nor integrity. All he sees is John Boehner!.

    August 17, 2010 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  18. ronalde

    you people are supposed to be news reporters why do you keep on saying that it is a mosque when it is not,this is what gets dumb people confused,it is a islamic center.

    August 17, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. Randy

    Chris Gibson sounds like an intelligent candidate (not many around these days). One who recognizes the true meaning of the Constitution. Boner on the other hand seems to be the exact opposite. Kudos to Gibson.

    August 17, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. skorpeo

    It's because the Republicans aren't just the Party of No, they are the Party of Anything Against Obama. It's OK if they say it, but it's not OK if Obama says it. Kinda like how the are up in arms about the "liberals trying to destroy the Constitution", but have no problem tearing apart the 14th Amendment.

    August 17, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  21. Doc

    I guess Gibson didn't check with the party before making the statement. I applaud him for supporting the constitution with his first statement and I'm ashamed that as former warrior he would let them pull his statement to coincide with the party opinion.

    August 17, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  22. BobH

    But of course when Obama supports it, he is attacking America. When Gibson supports it, he is protecting the Constitution.

    You have to be able to see these things through Republican glasses...

    August 17, 2010 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. John from Canada

    Dear House Minority Leader John Boehner;

    Does NOT the Consitution of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ALLOW FREEDOM of RELIGION etc. so WHY is it WRONG to have a Mosque built there, IT MIGHT NOT BE POLITACLY CORRECT but it is STILL winthin the CONSITUTION. That is basically what the President has said.

    August 17, 2010 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  24. Liz the First

    Does anything more clearly demonstrate the republicans' total lack of understanding of the concept of hypocrisy?

    August 17, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  25. ruty

    Where have these stupid people been? Obama NEVER said he approved of the mosque-he simple stated what the law is. Have the republicans been taking stupid pills?

    August 17, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6