Donald Trump is not the only ‘dangerous extremist’ running for President
Donald Trump has attracted round criticism after calling for Muslims to be banned from the United States – but he’s not the only worrying candidate running.
The Republican frontrunner has been branded a “dangerous extremist” by opponents for his claims – after saying that Muslim-Americans should be forced to wear ID badges, while foreign Muslims are banned from travelling to the US altogether.
However, a number of Trump’s main rivals have also made extreme comments without the same media circus – some even defending links to anti-LGBT hate groups and extremist pastors.
US Senator Ted Cruz is currently polling second in the race for the Republican Presidential nomination, and is currently ahead of Trump in the key state of Iowa in some polls.
Last month, Cruz appeared at a rally organised by ‘Death to Gays’ preacher Kevin Swanson, who shouted at the event: “Yes, Leviticus calls for the death penalty for homosexuals! Yes, the Apostle Paul does say that homosexuals are worthy of death!
“His words, not mine, and [screaming] I AM NOT ASHAMED! I am not ashamed of the truth of the word of God!”
Cruz has repeatedly ducked calls to condemn Swanson for his comments.
The candidate has also blamed gay soldiers for low military morale, claimed that trans children are a threat to his daughters, and repeatedly pledged to void all same-sex weddings.
The Senator is still polling high – even after he falsely claimed that a shooter who attacked a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado was a “transgendered leftist activist”.
In case you needed any more reason to dislike him, the Presidential candidate branded actress Ellen Page a “liberal fascist” after she asked him why he opposes LGBT rights.
Dr Ben Carson
Until recent political gaffes ate into his poll numbers, former Fox News pundit and neurosurgeon was Trump’s main competition in the polls nationally.
The pundit is notorious for extreme comments – though they tend not to attract the media attention of Trump’s.
The candidate last year insisted that same-sex marriage is a Marxist plot from the New World Order, claiming in a speech to a listed anti-gay group that gay weddings are part of a plan “to destroy unity [and] bring America down.”
Carson has repeatedly been forced to apologise when caught making overtly homophobic comments – apologising after he was caught comparing gay people to paedophiles, and again apologising after he was caught claiming that prisons ‘prove’ being gay is a choice.
His repeated humiliations have not dissuaded him, however – just last month he compared gay couples to conjoined twins.
Carson also recently suggested that the military re-introduce a form of controversial policy ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ to ban LGBT soldiers, claiming: “Why do you have to go around flaunting your sexuality? It’s not necessary, you don’t need to talk about that, we need to talk about how to eliminate the enemy.”
He hasn’t apologised for that one yet.
Former Governor of Arkansas and Fox News pundit Mike Huckabee is still in the running, and is attracting some attention as a potential ‘anti-Trump’ candidate.
Like Cruz, Huckabee continues to duck calls to condemn ‘Death to Gays’ preacher Kevin Swanson after appearing with him at a rally.
In case you need a recap, Swanson shouted at that event: “Yes, Leviticus calls for the death penalty for homosexuals (…) I AM NOT ASHAMED!”
Challenged to condemn the comments, Huckabee’s rep instead said the candidate “appreciated the opportunity to speak with an audience in Iowa about the importance of standing up for our religious liberties”.
Huckabee also rallied alongside anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, appearing alongside her lawyer Mat Staver – the head of a listed anti-gay hate group who has repeatedly compared her treatment to Jews in the Holocaust.
Despite claiming to work ‘closely’ with the clerk’s legal team to get her freed from jail, Huckabee declined to condemn any of Staver’s comments – even when Staver compared equal marriage to ‘sodomising’ children.
Huckabee, who previously ‘joked’ he wishes he were transgender to spy on teenage girls in the showers, has claimed that Obama was ‘appeasing homosexuals’ by appointing a gay army chief, insisted President Obama is not a Christian because he invited a gay bishop to meet the Pope.
We had to double-check, but yep, apparently Rick Santorum is still officially running for President.
He seems to have adopted a strange ‘under the radar’ approach to his campaign – but some of his extremist views should not be allowed to go by unnoticed.
Santorum has repeatedly claimed that homosexuality is a condition that can be cured – and opposes any attempt to challenge such gay ‘cure’ therapy.
The Republican has also claimed that same-sex couples getting married in the US will “disrupt the foundation of the world”, and has pledged to void the marriages of thousands of loving gay couples if elected President.
Ironically, Santorum insists that he “doesn’t spend a lot of time” thinking about homosexuality – when he seems to talk about nothing else.
Rick Santorum probably wasn’t thinking about homosexuality on July 13, when he said he wants to ban same-sex marriage everywhere – even when states have chosen to allow it.
Rick Santorum probably wasn’t thinking about homosexuality on July 5, when he claimed that letting gays marry will cause a “global crisis”.
Rick Santorum probably wasn’t thinking about homosexuality on June 29, when he claimed the next President needs to protect Christians from the gay lobby.
Rick Santorum probably wasn’t thinking about homosexuality on June 22, when he signed a pledge that describes same-sex parents as “unconscionable and destructive” and a “threat to security”.
So there you have it: Donald Trump is not the only person with dangerous views running for President.
Note: Across the broader Republican field there’s plenty of other Republican candidates who oppose LGBT rights – Marco Rubio has pledged to repeal an LGBT anti-discrimination order, for instance – but gain some credit for doing so without resorting to hate speech, or working with extremist pastors and listed hate groups.