Conservatives have come to the defense of Carly Fiorina for remarks she made in 2001 while employed as the Chief Executive Officer of tech giant HP.
A speech the presidential candidate delivered on September 26, 2001 about the role of leadership in the aftermath of 9/11, titled “Technology, Business And Our Way Of Life: What’s Next,” has been interpreted by some as a defense of radical Islam.
At the tail-end of her speech, Fiorina, a history major at Stanford, discusses the accomplishments made by the Arab and Islamic worlds in advancing civilization. She said:
This civilization was driven more than anything, by invention. Its architects designed buildings that defied gravity. Its mathematicians created the algebra and algorithms that would enable the building of computers, and the creation of encryption. Its doctors examined the human body, and found new cures for disease. Its astronomers looked into the heavens, named the stars, and paved the way for space travel and exploration.
“Its writers created thousands of stories. Stories of courage, romance and magic. Its poets wrote of love, when others before them were too steeped in fear to think of such things,” Fiorina added.
“In dark and serious times like this, we must affirm our commitment to building societies and institutions that aspire to this kind of greatness. More than ever, we must focus on the importance of leadership– bold acts of leadership and decidedly personal acts of leadership,” she concluded.
Penny Nance, a conservative activist and CEO of Concerned Women For America has come to the defense of Fiorina, writing:
It seems that some of my friends who I respect are misinterpreting a speech she gave a few weeks after 9/11 about leadership. The last portion of that speech recounts some history of accomplishments of the ancient Ottoman Empire as examples of leadership. This has been grossly miscast by some people as her somehow being supportive of radical Islam or terrorism.
Other conservative sites have backed Fiorina’s post 9/11 remarks, with one organization describing her speech as “nothing more than a history lesson getting skewed for the sake of stirring up made-up controversy.”
But not all conservatives are united, and some have asked for Fiorina to clarify her stance on radical Islam. Former GOP presidential nominee Michele Bachmann took to Twitter on Sunday, writing:
Carly Fiorina delivered this speech in MPLS praising Muslims 2 weeks after 911. http://t.co/t74JLWrHye
— Michele Bachmann (@MicheleBachmann) August 17, 2015
Bethany Blankley, a conservative commentator, interpreted the speech as “praise of Islam.”
Meanwhile, Islamic supremacists on the left have taken advantage of the ongoing Fiorina speech debate. Dean Obeidallah, a comedian and anti free-speech advocate, has written about how it showed proof that the GOP is conducting an “endless war on Muslim voters.”
Mother Jones, the magazine named after a Communist activist, added fuel to the fire, with a columnist penning an article stating that Fiorina is now the target of the tea party “extremists she once courted.”
Recently, the former tech CEO has proven to be well-informed on national security issues. In early August, during the “undercard” Fox News debate, Fiorina discussed at length her plan to defend America from its enemies, including actors such as the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic State (ISIS), both of which promulgate a radical Islamic theology.