President Donald Trump accused Democrats of bias against Christians and Jews — and wondered if coronavirus social distancing policies will be enforced against Muslims during Ramadan.
"They go after Christian churches, but they don't tend to go after mosques," Trump said of Democrats during a news conference Saturday.
What are the details?
A reporter asked Trump about his retweet of conservative author Paul Sperry's Twitter post, which asked, "Let's see if authorities enforce the social-distancing orders for mosques during Ramadan (April 23-May 23) like they did churches during Easter."
During Ramadan — a 30-day period which begins Thursday — Muslims don't eat or drink between dawn and sunset.
Trump replied, "I would like to see that. And, you know, I just spoke with leaders and people that love mosques. They love mosques. And I'm all in favor of that. But I would say that there could be a difference. And we'll have to see what will happen, because I've seen a great disparity in this country. I've seen a great disparity."
The president then turned his attention to Democrats in Congress, particularly freshmen U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota), Rashida Tlaib (Michigan), and Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts).
"I mean, I've seen a very strong anti-Israel bent in Congress with Democrats," Trump said, adding that it "was unthinkable seven or eight or 10 years ago. And now they're into a whole different thing between Omar and AOC — I say AOC plus three; add them on. You have — I mean, the things that they say about Israel are so bad. And I — I can't believe it."
'They go after Christian churches, but they don't tend to go after mosques'
Then apparently turning back to Democratic governors who've made headlines for enforcing coronavirus stay-at-home orders prior to Easter, Trump said he would be "very interested" to see what happens over Ramadan "because they go after Christian churches, but they don't tend to go after mosques. And I don't want them to go after mosques, but I do want to see what their — what their bent is."
But when a reporter asked Trump if he's suggesting "imams wouldn't follow social distancing," the president said no, adding that he just had a "tremendous" phone call with imams, rabbis, and ministers.
"I am somebody that believes in faith," Trump also said. "And it matters not what your faith is, but our politicians seem to treat different faiths very differently. And they seem to think — and I don't know what happened with our country — but the Christian faith is treated much differently than it was. And I think it's treated very unfairly."
As it happens, a mosque in New York is reportedly still open for daily prayers amid the coronavirus pandemic — and Muslims are still allowed gather in the mosque's prayer room for calls to prayer throughout the week.
CAIR blasts Trump
The Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned Trump's words, saying on Sunday that he promoted a "notorious anti-Muslim bigot's tweet questioning whether U.S. mosques will be treated differently during the upcoming month of Ramadan than churches were treated during Easter amid the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown."
CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a statement that Trump's "bigoted attempt to use American Muslims as a political football just before the holy month of Ramadan was as divisive as it was insulting. Mosques across our nation have already announced plans to remain closed indefinitely because the American Muslim community, unlike President Trump, recognizes the ongoing threat of the coronavirus."
Awad added that the president's "claim that American mosques — many of which have been protested, threatened, vandalized and even bombed in the years since he launched his first presidential campaign — receive preferential treatment compared to other faiths is an Islamophobic fantasy. Instead of fanning the flames of bigotry to distract the public from his own failures, the President should focus on combating the continued spread of the coronavirus."
Here's a clip of Trump's news conference via CAIRtv, which called them "incoherent":
Trump Gives Incoherent Response to Question About Retweet of Islamophobe's Comment on U.S. Mosques youtu.be