MSNBC’s Mehdi Hasan: Xenophobia, Islamophobia After 9/11 Led Haters to Trump

On Saturday’s installment of Velshi, guest host Mehdi Hasan claimed that the 9/11 terrorist attacks produced a xenophobic War on Terror that is responsible for the political raise of Donald Trump. In order to make this inflammatory stretch, Hasan repeated several far-left claims that simply aren’t true.

Hasan kicked off the segment claiming, “The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is fast approaching. And it’s even more poignant this year given the situation in Afghanistan. After 9/11 and the launch of a so-called Global War on Terror, xenophobia and specifically Islamophobia, became rampant in the U.S., in our politics, in our media, and in our public life.”

After 9/11, President Bush went out of his way separate 9/11 from Islam and today U.S. and allied countries are trying to help as many Muslims escape the Taliban as possible, but Hasan still claimed, “We had to be protected from the dangerous brown hordes at our borders. It’s helped Donald Trump, a vocal xenophobe, to be elected president.” 

If someone is flying a jet plane into skyscrapers, does it matter which skin color they have? Introducing his guest for the segment, Hasan claimed:

In fact, Spencer Ackerman author of the acclaimed new book, Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America And Produced Trump, argues that the U.S. handling of 9/11 opened the doors to the age of Trump and Trumpism. He writes, quote, ‘Trump recognized that the 9/11 era’s grotesque subtext– the perception of non-whites as marauders, even as conquerors from hostile foreign civilizations– was its engine.’ 

Spreading even more false narratives, Hasan continued:

You open the book with the story of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and how white terrorists and militiamen have always been treated very different to Muslim foreign terrorists. I was thinking a lot about that on Thursday when the Trump supporter outside the Library of Congress was arrested. On Friday he was charged with threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction. How different would the reaction from ordinary Americans, from politicians and pundits have been if he was a brown dude with a big beard and black flag? 

What is Hasan talking about? Timothy McVeigh was executed and the media is constantly trying to tie him to the GOP and mainstream conservatism. “You have angry white men here, sort of in their natural state,” said Juan Williams. No one in the media spoke in McVeigh’s favor, or counseled a light sentence. The media spent years putting on the Southern Poverty Law Center to warn of all the white far-right threats.

Also, the media covered the threat from fiendish Floyd Roseberry at the Library of Congress, and some quickly smeared it on Fox News, while others said it shows right-wing extremism is more dangerous than lSIS and Al-Qaeda. It didn’t seem as big a story because there ended up being no bomb, no “weapon of mass destruction.” 

This segment was sponsored by Progressive.

Here is the transcript for the August 21 show:

MSNBC

Velshi

9:44 AM ET

MEHDI HASAN: The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is fast approaching. And it’s even more poignant this year given the situation in Afghanistan. After 9/11 and the launch of a so-called Global War on Terror, xenophobia and specifically Islamophobia, became rampant in the U.S., in our politics, in our media, and in our public life. 

We had to be protected from the dangerous brown hordes at our borders. It’s helped Donald Trump, a vocal xenophobe, to be elected president. In fact, Spencer Ackerman author of the acclaimed new book, Reign of Terror: How the 9/11 Era Destabilized America And Produced Trump, argues that the U.S. handling of 9/11 opened the doors to the age of Trump and Trumpism. He writes, quote, “Trump recognized that the 9/11 era’s grotesque subtext– the perception of non-whites as marauders, even as conquerors from hostile foreign civilizations– was its engine.” 

Author Spencer Ackerman joins me now. Spencer, thanks so much for joining me this morning. You open the book with the story of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and how white terrorists and militiamen have always been treated very different to Muslim foreign terrorists. I was thinking a lot about that on Thursday when the Trump supporter outside the Library of Congress was arrested. On Friday he was charged with threatening to use a weapon of mass destruction. How different would the reaction from ordinary Americans, from politicians and pundits have been if he was a brown dude with a big beard and black flag? 

SPENCER ACKERMAN: Yeah, well said, Mehdi. So first off, there would have been calls to remove him from trial to execute him. There would calls to perhaps detain, possibly without charge. There would have been immediate demands to investigate all of his associates. There would law enforcement going to all of his associates. And then also to their associates. There would have been calls to pass new laws that expand the remit of government surveillance and prosecutorial power to in order to make sure that people who might have remotely given funds to organizations that he was also associated with would have been there — basically an effort to criminalize not just him not just his immediate associates that might have contributed to his plot but also people assumed to be in some important sense like him from where his ancestors were from and so on. We see the War on Terror in his politics by those it exempts. When we look at the exception we can better understand the rule and how it works. 

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