The Atlantic's ISIS Expert Graeme Wood Slams Trump For “Hurt[ing] The Fight Against ISIS” With Anti-Muslim Rhetoric

Wood: Trump's Muslim Ban “Would Hurt The Fight Against ISIS And Would Confirm One Of ISIS' Main Narratives”

From the June 13 edition of MSNBC's Morning Joe:

Video file

JOE SCARBOROUGH (CO-HOST): More talk of Muslim bans. More talk of exclusion. More talk, again, that has made many people believe, from Donald Trump, people believe that a lot of his words, a lot of his rhetoric, actually is playing into the ISIS playbook. 

WILLIE GEIST (CO-HOST): As we started our coverage yesterday morning, we heard from Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Donald Trump's first tweet, anyway, was relatively measured by his standard. “Thoughts and prayers for victims” and things like that. But as the day went on, he talked again about the Muslim ban. He's going to talk about it today and this week. He's apparently going to double down on that. 

SCARBOROUGH: This is a guy born in America. 

GEIST: This is in reaction to Omar Mateen. The shooter yesterday was born in New York and he lived in Florida. He's a United States citizen. 

MIKA BRZEZINSKI (CO-HOST): So he's using this event to try to prop up the Muslim ban and oil hatred, even though it has no connection at all. 

GEIST: And he's going to talk about Hillary Clinton and the ban as well. 

FRANK BRUNI: He didn't just talk about the Muslim ban, he kind of congratulated himself for having introduced it before. Everything about his reaction was very small and very unhelpful. And I think today --

SCARBOROUGH: And look at the second tweet. “Appreciate the congrats.” This is while 50 people are dead and 53 are fighting for their lives. “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism. I don't want congrats, I want toughness and vigilance, we must be smart!” And then he moved on after congratulating himself. 

BRUNI: Taking a victory lap on 50 bodies. Lovely. 

SCARBOROUGH: Yeah. And then going on, talking about doubling down on the Muslim ban. 

BRUNI: Which how would the Muslim ban have changed this? 

SCARBOROUGH: It wouldn't. 

WALTER ISAACSON: I think one of the really sharp things said this morning was General Hayden, when he said, “if we're going to fight these lone wolves,” and David Ignatius said it, too, “who are being radicalized, we need the help of the Muslim community and we don't need the whole community to turn against us. We need this type of understanding of what America is all about.” And for General Hayden, appointed by George W. Bush and then Obama, head of the National Security Agency, to take on Trump that fervently and that straightly, it shows how worried the intelligence community is. 

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, there should be collective take on, but we'll get to that. I think too soon at this point. Graeme, the Muslim ban that is so talked about in political circles and in Donald Trump's massive rallies, do you think that helps, hurts the fight against ISIS and what we're dealing with here? 

GRAEME WOOD: Obviously, the talk of a ban of Muslims in the United States would hurt the fight against ISIS and would confirm one of ISIS' main narratives. One of the things that ISIS always says is that “Muslims, you'll never really be at home in the west. You'll never really be American. You'll always be, in some way, a second-class citizen.” So to have one of the major party candidates confirming that is not good. One thing that I've seen over and over again is that if there is an American, if there is a European, a Belgian, a Brit who joins ISIS, that there's often a trace that's found in the activities of that person at a mosque, that you find the imams of the mosque will remember the person for being a troublesome figure, coming to the mosque and telling people how to do their business. So if you want those mosques, those imams to have communities that feel like they are part of the United States, of Belgium, of the UK, and that they can tell authorities that they've got these troublesome people, who need to be watched. And that's one of our absolute best security guards against this kind of an event, is having those communities turn in members who seem to be going crazy.


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