George Bush Stays Out Of ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Fray

Republicans for weeks have been surfacing left and right to condemn the proposed Islamic center two blocks from the site of Ground Zero in New York City, but one GOPer stayed quiet. As the “mosque” debate boiled over this weekend the big question was whether George W. Bush was going to weigh in.

TPM asked, and the response from his spokesman today was simple:

“President Bush has no comment.”As the AFP points out, it was Bush who spent years telling the nation Islam is a “religion of peace.”

Six days after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Bush visited the Islamic Center in Northwest D.C. He stressed a message his administration would repeat as it began wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. “The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam,” Bush said then. “That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace. These terrorists don’t represent peace. They represent evil and war.”

And as we reported earlier, Bush’s State Department dispatched the imam behind the planned Islamic center on diplomatic missions.

But now, he’s staying out of the fray. So are many of his top deputies. We tried to check in with other Bush-era aides who were tasked with Muslim outreach.

Assistants for Karen Hughes and Condoleezza Rice declined to comment. We’ve also requested interviews with several other prominent Bush administration aides, including Colin Powell and James Glassman.