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. Michael

    Boehner and McConnels.
    2 idiots and liars and flip-floppers.
    They should stay home and do laundry

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

    Everytime Boehner, Mitch McConnell open their mouths they show Americans that they DO NOT care about them!

    GOSH, President Bush held a vote to "privatize S. S. and it did not have enough votes!!!! thanks to Dems. voting against it. What if it did? What if????

    Reublicans blame America's money problems on entitlements and they have our young people believing that! I don't believe that. I believe TWO wars, the Tax Breaks for the Rich and Bush "borrowing from China" has made "entitilements" the WHOLE ISSUE! Are we stupid, America?

    When Bush left office, he tried as hard as he could to make the tax cuts for the rich, permanent. WHAT IF????? If it had not been for the Democrats, we would be living in a third world country and if we don't keep Obama and the Democrats in office, this will ruin Obama. And that is exactly what the REPUBLICANS WOULD DO.

    When Bush left office, his decisions set off "fireworks" that are still happening and hard to stop.

    August 17, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    I wonder if Republican Tim Pawlenty will call Boehner "clueless". LOL

    August 17, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. sandy

    He doesn't know what end is up. God help us if this man becomes Speaker of House..

    August 17, 2010 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  5. Big Ed

    The "Orange Man" talks out of both sides of his overly-tanned face!

    August 17, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. richard

    You gotta love these guys and the low information /gullible folks that believe they are working for anyone else but themselves. If you think this guy is slightly considering your best interests you, my friend, are a dummy. Although, he does have an incredible grasp on what stirs negative emotions and disrupts progress.

    PS. Note to Obame. Stay on script and stop wading into controversial issues that you don't have to. It hasn't worked well for you.

    August 17, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  7. John

    Just like a Republican said one thing than do another,that way you don't trust a Republican. You can if you are BIG BUSINESS OR THE VERY RICH. COME NOVEMBER VOTE NO for Republican that away said NO.

    August 17, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  8. The Real Nate

    Now, that's egg on the face!

    August 17, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. kimberly

    this is sick to me...ANTI AMERICAN is what this is...In this country, you have the RIGHT CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to worship as you feel, with NO back lash! The right wing NUT JOBS in this country will be the reason we are attacked again, for their outright hatred and blinding IGNORANCE! SHAME ON EVERYONE OF YOU!

    August 17, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Marvin

    Once again, Republicans like to have it both ways, when convinient for them is Ok to change the constitution, to increase taxes, to spend money, and like in this case, support someone who agrees with the preseident on religious freedom. Politicians are the worst of the worst

    August 17, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Patty

    And the hypocrites march on....

    August 17, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Lori in St Pete

    Uh oh rethugliban! What say you now?

    August 17, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Neil

    Doesn't anyone understand english anymore?President Obama did not back the ground zero mosque.He merely stated that they have the right to build there.Republicans are spinning this so it looks like he is a supporter which would be wrong for a president to get into.Why don't they just pour more gasoline on the fires of controversy.

    August 17, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |

    Just shows yet again what hypocrites the GOP are and specifically Rep. Boner. A republican says the same thing that the President says and according to John of Orange that's alright, but the president was wrong. Really ?!? All the GOP does is sound bites, no ideas, no plans, no truth.

    Vote NO in NOvember to the party of NO.

    August 17, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Pangloss

    Would you buy a used car from this man?

    August 17, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. Mesa Mick

    Hey, Boneher and the rest of you "good christian conservative" re-thug-lie-cants bashing Obama's defense of our individual freedoms of religion and the rights of property ownership as being "insensitive" to the wants of a backwards-looking, tax cuts only for the rich obstructionist political party remember this....

    It's call the Constitutional Bill of Rights, not the "Political Bills of the RIGHT".

    It's time for you GOP whackos and Talibangelicals who only want to trash our president, our democracy and our way of life in order to start a religious war with Islam to stick a sock in it and leave our American liberties alone...

    August 17, 2010 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. Whatever

    Mr. Orange is a FLIP FLOPPER!!!!!! What an idiot!!!!!!!!

    August 17, 2010 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. water bearer

    Oops. Looks like Bonehead pulled another boner! 🙂

    August 17, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. drr

    me thinks me smells hypocrite!!!

    August 17, 2010 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Steve in Denver

    News flash! Boehner is a lying hypocrite.

    Well, not so new. We've known that for a long time.

    Go away, tan man.

    August 17, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. DC Johnny

    So what's more important, that Boehner stands behind the majority of the principles of the candidate for whom he will fundraise, or that this one issue is so groundbreaking and important that it renders all other similarities between the two's views irrelevant?

    Get ahold of yourself, CNN. You don't dictate what is and what is not most important.

    August 17, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Ron M.

    Here's a typical two faced Republican tool John Boehner. Another corrupt politician who only opens his mouth for his party's gain. Vote him out of office PLEASE! Am I the only one who has noticed that our civil liberties are being taking away from us?

    August 17, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  23. Leah24

    Do you think that Republicans are playing double game? Do you remember when Pres. Obama said that he wants a judge with feeling. Republicans were saying a judge need to respect the constitution not a feeling. Now they are saying that he nee...d to respect the feeling of the victimes of new yorkers not respect the constitutions

    August 17, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  24. OhioGal

    Gibson is a Republican I could vote for.

    August 17, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Jared from Delaware

    Typical orange-colored Boehner hypocrisy.

    Someone should tell this dope that spray-on tans are lame and that they look incredibly stupid on everyone...

    August 17, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
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