Donald Trump ally Roger Stone urged the presumptive Republican nominee to capitalize on the deadly terror attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando by smearing Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin as a potential “terrorist agent.” Conservative politicians and pundits have linked Abedin to terrorists despite the charges having “no factual basis.”
Stone worked for Trump’s presidential campaign last year and now heads a pro-Trump super PAC. Stone talks to Trump on a “semi-regular basis,” suggests campaign strategies to him, and “stump[s]” on his behalf. Stone has a decades-long history of political dirty tricks, and he regularly spouts violent, racist, and sexist rhetoric.
As Politico noted, Stone appeared as a guest today on Sirius XM’s Breitbart News Daily and discussed the political fallout of the deadly June 12 terror attack at the gay nightclub Pulse. Stone claimed that Trump would politically “benefit” from the attack and explained that “there’s going to be a new focus” on supposedly disloyal Americans like Abedin. Stone remarked of the Clinton aide: "She has a very troubling past. … So we have to ask: Do we have a Saudi spy in our midst? Do we have a terrorist agent?” Stone later encouraged Trump to “ask a series of questions publicly about Huma and” her purported relationship with terrorism.
Several reporters condemned Stone’s remarks. Spencer Ackerman, The Guardian's US national security reporter, tweeted that Stone’s comments are “pure bigotry”; Wall Street Journal reporter Michael S. Derby classified the comments as “Neo-McCarthyism.” New York Daily News reporter Meera Jagannathan tweeted that Stone’s comments “would be hilarious if it were not so incredibly dangerous.”
Stone has long smeared Abedin as a potential terrorist. He previously tweeted that Abedin is a “Muslim Brotherhood spy” and Clinton’s “Muslim Brotherhood handler,” and compared her to accused Soviet spy “Alger Hiss.” He wrote in his book The Clintons’ War on Women -- which Trump has been mining for attacks against Clinton -- that Abedin has “troubling ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Stone also wrote a Breitbart News piece today claiming America needs “answers about Huma Abedin” because she might be a “Saudi plant.”
Republicans and conservative media have for years pushed ugly smears that Abedin is connected to terrorism through Muslim Brotherhood-linked entities. Media outlets shouldn’t allow conservatives to slime Abedin without noting the charges are bogus.
Rumor-debunking website Snopes.com wrote that “claims that her late father, her mother and her brother were all 'connected' to Muslim Brotherhood have no factual basis to them.” The Atlantic called the conspiracy theory “a little nuts” and concluded that “from person to person, you kind of have to do a somersault to get from Huma Abedin to the Muslim Brotherhood.” Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and former Republican House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) have also defended Abedin from terrorist accusations.
Ed Rollins, who now helps lead the pro-Trump super PAC Great America PAC, wrote in 2012 for FoxNews.com that “Abedin has been thru every top clearance available and would never have been given her position with any questions of her loyalty to this country.” He added that the Republican Party will “become the party of intolerance and hate" if it allows such attacks.