Meet the Hit-Squad ‘Holy Warrior’ Campaigning for Ted Cruz

Joining the band of conspiracy-theorists and crackpots is a former Rumsfeld lieutenant who made a name for himself finding and taking out enemies abroad.

AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post/ Getty

On Sunday, Ted Cruz—whose list of presidential endorsements reads like a rogue’s gallery of famous conspiracy-theorists and crackpots—is set to appear at a very “American Rally” in Concord, North Carolina, alongside some of his biggest celebrity boosters.

The Republican senator from Texas will be joined onstage by right-wing media personalities Dana Loesch and Glenn Beck, Texas country music singer Aaron Watson, author David Limbaugh, and Cruz’s former rival Carly Fiorina. (It was reported earlier that Chuck Norris would speak at the event, but that has since been retracted.)

Another conservative figure headlining the rally is Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin. The retired general, who served as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence in the George W. Bush administration from 2002 to 2007, is currently the executive VP at the Family Research Council, a leading Christian-right group and lobbying outfit in Washington, DC.

“The next President will appoint three Supreme Court Justices,” Boykin said in a statement announcing his endorsement of Cruz last month. “I want Ted Cruz to do that. He is a man of character, integrity, and courage.”

Boykin has a colorful military and political history ranging from Islamphobia to homophobia. President Bush publicly chewed out Boykin after the general gave speeches declaring the War on Terror was a great battle between the forces of Christianity (“our God”) and Satan. Boykin has said that Islam “does not deserve First Amendment protections."

“Islam is evil,” he said in 2012. “Islam is an evil concept because it does call for innocent blood. It calls for the subjugation of women, it calls for brutality that is alien to us as Christians. So we do love the Muslim people, but the Bible also speaks of a time when men will call good evil and evil good, and we have to be sure that we are in fact calling Islam what it is, and in reality, it’s evil.”

Furthermore, he once speculated that there is “an entity within the Council of Foreign Relations that is very much focused on global governments—one world government.” Much like Cruz (and his rival Donald Trump), Boykin has raged against President Obama’s “political correctness.” He also wants “God’s army” to fight back against the advancement of gay rights in America.

And Boykin, who believes Adolf Hitler was a left-wing dictator, was worried that Obama would use regulations under the umbrella of healthcare reform to enforce martial law—during an administration that he claims has “incrementally moved towards Marxism”:

You can read more about his conspiratorial, religious, and hard-right views here, here, and here. (A rep for FRC did not respond to The Daily Beast’s multiple requests for an interview with Boykin.)

But the most influential period of his career hasn’t been his time as a full-time Christian conservative activist. It was his work as a top “Holy Warrior” for the Pentagon during the Bush years.

Boykin, a former Delta Force commander and an ordained minister who urges “Christians to become warriors in God's Kingdom,” was instrumental in revitalizing then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's high-value target team to track down Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, and other terrorist leaders and foreign enemies.

His reputation was built on decades of service that included involvement in the attempted Iranian hostage rescue in 1980, to the manhunt for and killing of Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.

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In 2003, a retired general told The New Yorker that Boykin was “one of those guys you’d love to have in a war because he’s not afraid to die.”

With Boykin behind the wheel, the Pentagon established a new espionage wing (that operated in ways more closely mirroring the CIA’s traditional role) that granted Rumsfeld and his inner circle broad authority over clandestine operations overseas.

"We are running intelligence operations every day on the streets of Baghdad and Afghanistan," Boykin said in Congressional testimony on the subject, explaining that intel and other operations "are difficult to separate."

When asked if the government should start a War on Terror-version of the Phoenix Program (the CIA’s controversial Vietnam War-era project of assassination and targeted killing), Boykin said that U.S. military forces and special-ops in Afghanistan and Iraq were "doing a pretty good job of that right now."

"We're going after these people," he said. "Killing or capturing these people is a legitimate mission for the department and for the interagency [processes that coordinate national security policy]. I think we're doing what the Phoenix Program was designed to do, without all of the secrecy."

Boykin’s past finding and taking out Muslim terrorists is well-documented. Campaigning for Cruz — who has expressed his desire to carpet-bomb and commit war crimes in order to defeat the so-called Islamic State — is his present and future.