Ken Cuccinelli, whom President Donald Trump is set to appoint to a senior position with the Department of Homeland Security, previously praised and promoted an “important and powerful” diatribe against Muslims from Brigitte Gabriel, one of the most prominent anti-Muslim leaders in the country.
Cuccinelli is a right-wing commentator and former Virginia attorney general who will reportedly be appointed as the new director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of DHS. Cuccinelli has a history of anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant rhetoric and positions.
Gabriel is the head of the anti-Muslim group ACT for America. Media outlets have called her “the most influential leader in America’s increasingly influential anti-Islam lobby” and “America's most prominent anti-Muslim activist.” Gabriel has a long history of anti-Muslim statements, including claiming that “a practicing Muslim … cannot be a loyal citizen to the United States,” and saying that Muslims in Europe “started multiplying” after World War II and did not assimilate and that Europe is now “paying the price” because it “ignored the cancer growing within its body when it was at Stage Two.”
The Heritage Foundation hosted a June 16, 2014, panel event about the 2012 Benghazi attacks featuring Gabriel and fellow anti-Muslim commentators Frank Gaffney and Clare Lopez. During that event, Gabriel attacked a Muslim questioner for noting that there are many peaceful Muslims, stating that while the “majority of them are peaceful people,” the “peaceful majority” is irrelevant because “radicals are estimated to be between 15 to 25%” and “it is the radicals that kill. ... When you look throughout history, when you look at all the lessons of history, most Germans were peaceful. Yet the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result, 60 million people died.” From the event:
BRIGITTE GABRIEL: There are 1.2 billion Muslims in the world today. Of course, not all of them are radicals. The majority of them are peaceful people. The radicals are estimated to be between 15 to 25% according to all intelligence services around the world. That leaves 75% of them peaceful people. But when you look at 15 to 25% of the world Muslim population, you’re looking at 180 million to 300 million people dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization. That is as big of the United States.
So why should we worry about the radical 15 to 25%? Because it is the radicals that kill. Because it is the radicals that behead and massacre. When you look throughout history, when you look at all the lessons of history, most Germans were peaceful. Yet the Nazis drove the agenda and as a result, 60 million people died. Almost 14 million in concentration camps. Six million were Jews. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. When you look at Russia, most Russians were peaceful as well. Yet, the Russians were able to kill 20 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. When you look at China, for example, most Chinese were peaceful as well. Yet the Chinese were able to kill 70 million people. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. When you look at Japan prior to World War II, most Japanese were peaceful as well. Yet Japan was able to butcher its way across Southeast Asia, killing 12 million people, mostly killed with bayonets and shovels. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. On September 11 in the United States, we had 2.3 million Arab Muslims living in the United States. It took 19 hijackers, 19 radicals, to bring America down to its knees, destroy the World Trade Center, attack the Pentagon, and kill almost 3,000 Americans that day. The peaceful majority were irrelevant. So for all our powers of reasons and us talking about moderate and peaceful Muslims, I’m glad you’re here. But where are the others speaking out?
In July 2014 Facebook post, Cuccinelli responded to video of Gabriel’s diatribe by writing that “this panelist's point about irrelevance of the peaceful - BUT UNENGAGED - majority is extremely important and powerful. I.e., if the ‘agenda’ is driven by the radical minority, then the peaceful majority doesn't affect the course of history.”
Right-wing media figures have frequently demanded that Muslims speak out against or atone for terrorist attacks -- a rigged and disingenuous game that ignores that Muslim groups and leaders do roundly condemn them.
Cuccinelli has also associated with Gabriel in other settings. He has signed letters with her and numerous other right-wing leaders supporting funding for the southern border wall, expressing concern about the supposed social media censorship of conservatives, and opposing the House Democrats’ bill “to expand Americans' access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants, and for other purposes.” He also attended an August 2018 Media Research Center cruise with Gabriel, according to promotional information.