A senior White House aide refused to confirm that President Donald Trump believes that Islam is a religion in a Friday NPR interview.
Sebastian Gorka, a former Breitbart national security editor who left his post as a Fox New contributor to become a deputy assistant to Trump, first evaded the question and then said he couldn’t speak for the President.
“Morning Edition” host Steve Inskeep mentioned that Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn last year referred to Islam as a “cancer” that “hides behind being a religion” before asking point-blank if the President considered Islam a religion.
Gorka said that the press paid insufficient attention to two speeches Trump gave on the campaign about “radical Islamic terrorism” and that the addresses “tell you everything you need to know.”
“What is the phrase he uses again and again? It’s not Islam,” Gorka said. “It’s not a discussion about Islam as a religion or not a religion; it’s about radical Islamic terrorism. We are prepared to be honest about the threat; we’re not going to white it out, delete it as the Obama administration did. We understand that groups like ISIS have a religious verbiage. Their justification for violence is always religion.”
“Forgive me, I understand what you’re saying, but does the President believe that Islam is a religion?” Inskeep pressed.
“I think you should ask him that question,” Gorka replied. “I’m not a spokesperson for the President. I’m a deputy assistant to him. But I would say that’s a misreading of everything he said in the last 18 months.”
Gorka was a paid policy consultant to the Trump campaign who officially joined the administration in January.