A few months before Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump spewed Islamophobic hate speech, he accused anti-Islam activist Pamela Geller of needlessly antagonizing Muslims.
On May 4 of this year, Trump tweeted: “The U.S. has enough problems without publicity seekers going out and openly mocking religion in order to provoke attacks and death. BE SMART.”
His declaration was in response to the news that two men attempted to shoot up the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland, Texas, during a “Draw the Prophet” event organized by Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI).
Geller and her group, which has been labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an “anti-Muslim hate group,” defended her First Amendment rights in the face of violence.
“Freedom of speech is under violent assault here,” Geller defiantly said at the time.
Donald Trump, the presidential candidate, would seemingly agree—he’s spoken a great deal about “political correctness” and his belief that free speech is under attack. But pre-candidate Donald Trump apparently felt otherwise.
“It looks like she’s just taunting everybody. What is she doing?” he told Fox & Friends. “Drawing Mohammed and it looks like she’s actually taunting people. You know, I’m one that believes in free speech, probably more than she does. But what’s the purpose of this?”
And now as Trump openly attempts to restrict the rights of Muslims, Geller holds a grudge and remains unconvinced of his anti-Islamic credentials.
“Trump denounced our free-speech event,” Geller told The Daily Beast. “For all his braggadocio about opposing jihad and stopping Muslim immigration, he appears to have no understanding of the necessity of standing up to efforts to bully us into silence and to force us at gunpoint to accept Sharia restrictions on the freedom of speech.”
She added: “Our Garland event was responding to the jihad murders of the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in Paris. Trump would apparently have us kowtow and submit, and self-censor our words to please Muslims, in the face of those murders.”
Interestingly, however, Geller’s solution for dealing with Islamic terrorism is almost the same as Trump’s. AFDI’s platform—written after the Boston Marathon bombings—calls for the “profiling of Muslims at airports,” surveillance and inspection of mosques, and an “immediate halt of immigration by Muslims into nations that do not currently have a Muslim majority population,” which includes the United States.
Sounds familiar. But because she cannot endorse a candidate who “doesn’t understand the importance of the freedom of speech,” Geller said she supports Ted Cruz.