Louie Gohmert’s foolish rhetoric is fueling anti-Americanism in Egypt
U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, the Texas Republican and a frequent target of ours (see HERE), is not the harmless nutcase he might seem to be.
As we see HERE, Gohmert is doing harm to his country’s interests in the Middle East:
When Rep. Louie Gohmert floats conspiracy theories, Americans across the political spectrum tend to roll their eyes and ignore him. But one of his more feverish conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama’s ostensible ties to the Muslim Brotherhood could be fueling dangerous anti-American sentiments in Egypt and potentially complicating U.S. foreign policy in the region, experts say.
For months, the five-term Republican congressman from Texas has been claiming that the Obama administration has been infiltrated by members of the Muslim Brotherhood who are steering U.S. foreign policy and emboldening terrorists.
“This administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America,” Gohmert told the conspiracy-friendly World Net Daily radio back in April, in just one example of such claims.
Gohmert’s remarks echo conspiracy theories put forth by conservative writer and advocate Frank Gaffney, who published a book last year titled The Muslim Brotherhood in the Obama Administration. Gohmert appeared on Gaffney’s radio show earlier this year touting the Brotherhood’s influence on Obama.
At home, where the political class takes Gohmert with a grain of salt, the claim has been confined to the fever swamps. Gaffney’s theories were so fringe as to get him banned from the high-profile conservative conference CPAC last year.
But in Egypt, where the democratically elected Muslim Brotherhood government was recently ousted by the country’s military after the people turned against it, it’s a different story. Anti-American conspiracy theories are rampant there, for a variety of reasons related and unrelated to U.S. foreign policy, and hearing it from a United States congressman lends credibility to the theory that the U.S. is teaming up with the Muslim Brotherhood — and even Al-Qaeda — to destroy Egypt.
“I guarantee you nobody in Egypt really knows who Louie Gohmert is or what he’s about. So they could very well point to this and say ‘Look! He’s a member of Congress. This must be serious. There must be something to it,’” said Steven A. Cook, senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It doesn’t help in a political environment where everyone is already angry at us to be fueling conspiracy theories against us. In that way it enables an overall level of hostility toward the U.S.”
Shadi Hamid, a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, conceded that he hadn’t even heard of Gohmert until TPM reached out to him. “As for the role it plays,” Hamid said, “look, this does provide real ammunition to the conspiracy theorists when you have American sources seemingly verifying what they are saying.”