Guess Which Michigan Politicians Passed Up Chance to Condemn ‘Death to America’ Chants

Gretchen Whitmer

For politicians, one would think it would have been an open-and-shut case, and in earlier, saner ages in our national life, it would have been. If a group of people in America get together and scream “Death to America,” officials ought to be lining up to condemn them, and there should be investigations and, if non-citizens are involved, deportations. We live, however, in Old Joe Biden’s America, in which the America-hating left is the dominant cultural force, and so some high-profile politicians have been notably wary about condemning calls for the destruction of the nation they have vowed to protect and defend.

The ugly scene unfolded last Friday, at the International Al Quds Day rally in Dearborn. Al Quds Day is an annual event that Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini started in support of the Palestinians; even at its most peaceful, its rallies frequently features calls for the destruction of Israel and a new genocide of the Jews.

In Dearborn, however, as a pro-Hamas activist named Tarek Bazzi denounced the United States as “one of the rottenest countries that has ever existed on this earth,” some of the people in the crowd screamed “al-mawt li Amrika,” that is, “Death to America.” As they did so, Bazzi stood with head bowed, waiting for them to go silent so that he could resume speaking. He gave no hint of disapproval of the chants.

When asked to condemn the chants, some Michigan politicians acted the same way. The Daily Caller reported Wednesday that it had contacted several Democrat elected officials in Michigan and asked them to condemn the chants, and not all of them were eager to jump on any patriotic bandwagon.

Some members of Michigan’s Congressional delegation had no problem doing so. Rep. Hillary Scholten declared: “I fully condemn this dangerous and disturbing rhetoric and will stand strong against hatred, bigotry, and anti-Semitism wherever it exists.”

Rep. Dan Kildee chimed in with this: “I unequivocally condemn such extreme and dangerous speech. Calling for violence, including the destruction of America, is wrong and should be denounced.”

Rep. Elissa Slotkin agreed: “Violent, hateful language has no place in our communities, no matter the cause. I’m grateful to the Dearborn leaders and others for making clear that these statements do not reflect the views of Michigan’s communities.”

All this was pro forma, standard-issue stuff: violence, hate, and bigotry have no place in our diverse blah blah blah. Modern-day politicians can rattle off this tired rhetoric in their sleep, and anyway, condemnations are easy: it is unlikely that Scholten, Kildee or Slotkin will take any action to try to address anti-American sentiment among Muslims in Dearborn. Call for schoolchildren to be educated in America’s virtues and contributions to the world? Call for a recovery of patriotism as a core value of any healthy society? Come on, man! That sort of thing could get them to lose the next election! At least they did, however, go on record condemning the “Death to America” chants. The courage it took to do so was apparently in short supply.

Rep. Shri Thanedar’s office, in contrast, opted to “politely decline” to condemn the chants. The office wonks, however, apparently thought it over and decided that a condemnation was a politically safer path, for subsequently they issued a statement saying that “the Congressman condemns any chants calling for death to America.” Thanedar himself added: “I love America; I immigrated to the USA in 1979 and became a proud citizen in 1988. Any hate towards this great country must be condemned with the strongest words. I am deeply saddened by such attacks on American soil.”

Thanedar was not alone in having cold feet, at least initially: Reps. Debbie Dingell, Haley Stevens, Debbie Stabenow, Gary Peters and (what did you expect?) Rashida Tlaib “refused to share their stance on the matter.” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer likewise “did not respond to a request for comment.”

It’s not hard to see why. The Muslim population in Michigan has grown rapidly. Just as Old Joe Biden is betraying Israel to try to ensure that he carries Michigan in November, so also Whitmer and the others have to reckon with the Muslim vote when considering whether they really want to come down against chanting “Death to America.” Of course, if the “Death to America” chanters get their way and America really dies, those who declined to stand for this nation in order to secure short-term political support will look awfully silly. But they aren’t thinking that far ahead.

Robert Spencer

Photo: flickr

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About the Author

Robert Spencer
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 26 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest books are The Critical Qur’an and The Sumter Gambit. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.