It’s crunch time in the race for the White House. Early voting begins in key states like Ohio in just a few weeks. And with Donald Trump trailing in most national polls, he’s now going all in on the “I’m healthier than Hillary” contest by appearing Thursday on Dr. Oz’s television show, where he will answer questions about his health and even reveal “his own personal health regime.”
If Alanis Morissette were open to adding a new verse to her song “Ironic,” Trump’s visit to Dr. Oz’s show would have to be included. Why? Because Dr. Mehmet Oz is a Muslim. It truly is irony defined that Trump is now turning to a Muslim in his time of need, given how Trump has made stoking hate of Muslims one of the staples of his campaign.
Yet here we have Trump betting his election on a man who is part of a faith that Trump claims “hates us.” Do you think Trump subjected Dr. Oz to his “extreme vetting”? Maybe Trump asked the good doctor if he believes in “Sharia” before agreeing to go on his show? (Of course, Trump has no idea what Sharia means, but that is beside the point.)
And just a few weeks ago, Trump told Sean Hannity that Muslim Americans were in essence hiding terrorists from the authorities. (Despite that too being factually wrong.) Did Trump ask Dr. Oz if he would report “scary” Muslims to the authorities, or do questions like these not apply to Muslims helping Trump?
Oh, and it gets better. Dr. Oz is the child of Muslim immigrants. You know, the very type of Muslims Trump would ban from America. Both of Dr. Oz’s parents were born in Turkey. Given that Turkey is dealing with terrorism and shares a border with ISIS-controlled territory, it would appear that even under Trump’s “new and improved” Muslim ban, Dr. Oz’s parents likely would not be permitted to come to America under a President Trump.
But Trump’s hypocrisy with Muslims is nothing new. While Trump was announcing his “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States,” he was profiting from his dealings with his Muslim partners in the Middle East. Indeed, just a year before Trump declared his Muslim ban, Trump was in Dubai with his Muslim business partner Hussain Sajwani, whom he had praised as a “good friend” and “great man,” to announce a massive joint real estate venture that features a luxury golf course and million-dollar mansions that would bear the Trump name.
And while Trump is quick to criticize the Clintons for their dealings with Saudi Arabia, Trump has made nearly $5 million from the Saudi government, and his daughter Ivanka declared in 2014 that they were “looking at multiple opportunities in Abu Dhabi, in Qatar, in Saudi Arabia” to build new Trump hotels.
So Trump demonizes Muslims when it helps him get votes but praises them when it makes him profits, or as in the case of Dr. Oz, helps his campaign. Of course, there’s always a chance Trump will now deny he knew that Dr. Oz is a Muslim, the same way he claimed he didn’t know that Larry King’s TV show on Russian television was airing on that Kremlin-funded station.
But Trump’s use of a Muslim like Dr. Oz to help his campaign is more than hypocritical—it’s deplorable. Trump’s demonization of Muslims is not political—it’s personal. His reckless rhetoric about our community has manifested in a spike in hate crimes against us. Just a few days ago a self-professed Trump fan physically attacked two hijab-wearing Muslim women in New York City while reportedly yelling, “Get the fuck out of America, bitches… This is America—you shouldn’t be different from us.” (The attacker was formally charged with a hate crime.)
And in the last month alone we have seen three Muslim Americans killed in New York City in two separate incidents that the Muslim community believes are possible hate crimes. Add to that the numerous mosques that have been attacked, including a fire Sunday night—officially deemed by the police as arson—at the mosque the Orlando Pulse nightclub gunman had attended.
Keep in mind that after the horrific 2013 Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured over 250, we didn’t see this type of backlash. As the Associated Press noted at the time, “Muslim civil rights leaders say the anti-Islam reaction has been more muted this time than after other attacks since Sept. 11.” The difference was that in 2013 there was no Trump ginning up hatred of Muslims for political gain. If there had been, we would have likely seen a much more severe backlash at that time.
My dream is that Dr. Oz challenges Trump on his anti-Muslim bigotry Thursday. I hope he raises the racism, bigotry, and sexism Trump has spewed this campaign, from claiming Judge Curiel is a “Mexican” to ridiculing Carly Fiorina’s face to demeaning Capt. Khan’s Gold Star parents. But I doubt we will see that. This is an entertainment show, not the news. (And as such I can understand why Dr. Oz would welcome the ratings monster Trump.)
We may not be able to determine what percentage of Trump supporters are “deplorables.” But there is no doubt that Trump is 100 percent despicable.