(New York) H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s embattled national security adviser, referred to the Islamic terrorist suspect in Tuesday’s deadly jihadist attack in Lower Manhattan as among a grouping of “mass murderers.”
This despite reports that the suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, left behind a note declaring that the attack was perpetuated in the name of the Islamic State. And witnesses heard Saipov shout “Allahu Akbar!,” Arabic for “Allah is great,” during the terrorist assault.
McMaster has a history of minimizing the radical Islamic nature of such attacks. Only last month, he labeled the September 11, 2001, Islamic terrorist attacks “mass murder attacks,” instead of calling them acts of terrorism. This reporter previously exposed numerous other instances of McMaster minimizing the Islamic motivations of radical Muslim terrorists.
The latest incident came during a White House press briefing on Wednesday, when a reporter posed the following question to McMaster:
I know we’re focused on the Asia trip here, but I just wanted to talk for a second about the President weighing in on the man who’s been charged with mowing down pedestrians in New York City. He called for the death penalty. Have there been any conversations in the White House about how that could complicate prosecutors’ efforts, and even help the defense claim that this person can’t get a fair trial?
McMaster replied (emphasis added):
What the President wants is to secure the American people from this threat and from mass murderers like this, murderers like this. And so what he’s asked us for are options to take a look to assess if our tremendous law enforcement teams and our judicial system has all the tools they need to be able to combat this threat to the American people.
So what we owe him now is we owe him options — you know, options to take a look at to see if this is the time to reassess, change our capabilities in this area and the area of law enforcement in particular.
Watch McMaster’s remarks here:
McMaster on POTUS calling for death penalty for NYC attack suspect: What POTUS "wants is to secure the American people from this threat." pic.twitter.com/56RKytbwAU
— CBS News (@CBSNews) November 2, 2017
On Thursday, the Islamic State formally claimed responsibility for Saipov’s terrorist attack in which eight people were murdered and a dozen more were wounded.
McMaster has reportedly previously petitioned against using the phrase “Islamic terrorism.”
In February, CNN cited a source inside a National Security Council meeting quoting McMaster as saying that use of the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” is unhelpful in working with allies to fight terrorism.
In May, McMaster spoke on ABC’s This Week about whether Trump would use the phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” in a speech that the president was about to give in Saudi Arabia. “The president will call it whatever he wants to call it,” McMaster said. “But I think it’s important that, whatever we call it, we recognize that [extremists] are not religious people. And, in fact, these enemies of all civilizations, what they want to do is to cloak their criminal behavior under this false idea of some kind of religious war.”
This reporter previously exposed numerous instances of McMaster’s minimizing the Islamic motivations of radical Muslim terrorists.
Breitbart News unearthed a 2014 speech about the Middle East in which McMaster claimed that Islamic terrorist organizations are “really un-Islamic” and are “really irreligious organizations” who cloak themselves in the “false legitimacy of Islam.”
Delivering the keynote address at last April’s Norwich University ROTC Centennial Symposium, McMaster criticized “modern-day barbarians like Daesh and al-Qaeda who cynically use a perverted interpretation of religion to perpetuate ignorance, incite hatred, and commit the most heinous crimes against innocents.”
Breitbart News also reported that McMaster endorsed and touted a book that frames jihad as a largely peaceful “means to struggle or exert effort,” such as waking up early in the morning to recite prayers. It argues that groups like al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations have hijacked the concept of jihad to wage warfare using such tactics as suicide bombings.
That same book calls Hamas an “Islamist political group” while failing to categorize the deadly organization as a terrorist group and refers to al-Qaeda attacks and anti-Israel terrorism as “resistance.”
Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.