In the wake of tragedy at the Boston marathon finish line, fear and a rush to classify the nature of the attack have been rampant. But one Texas Republican’s comments have led to outrage and head-scratching on Twitter after he said that in the wake of the bombing, Americans must remember that radical Islamists are training to “act like Hispanic.”
“We know Al Qaeda has camps over with the drug cartels on the other side of the Mexican border,” Rep. Louie Gohmert said Wednesday on C-Span. “We know that people that are now being trained to come in and act like Hispanic when they are radical Islamists. We know these things are happening. It is just insane not to protect ourselves, to make sure that people come in as most people do … They want the freedoms we have.”
— Dennis Diehl (@DennisDiehl) April 17, 2013
— LeftCoastLarry (@LeftCoastLarry) April 17, 2013
rep louie gohmert is at it again.radical islamists are being trained to act like Hispanics and cross the Mexican border.Fool.
— Shaun Morrison (@max1146) April 17, 2013
— Leslie Berntsen (@leslie_bern) April 17, 2013
@kvh4u What is frightening is to know people actually cast votes for Louie Gohmert.
— Stephany (@steffy7680) April 17, 2013
— Jason Karsh (@jkarsh) April 17, 2013
When reached for comment, Gohmert’s office pointed NBC Latino to statements made by FBI Director Robert Mueller on March 8, 2005 of a similar nature. In testimony to Congress he said, “there are individuals from countries with known al-Qa’ida connections who are changing their Islamic surnames to Hispanic-sounding names and obtaining false Hispanic identities, learning to speak Spanish and pretending to be Hispanic Immigrants .”
But that didn’t stop many on Twitter from seeing the comments as insensitive and rash.
“TX Rep Louie Gohmert: Radical Islamists r trained 2 act Hispanic.” So they work hard, pay taxes, go 2 Gypsy Kings Concerts?
— Elayne Boosler (@ElayneBoosler) April 17, 2013
— bob calhoun (@bob_calhoun) April 17, 2013
— Sean Pace-Scrivener (@ScrivenerActual) April 17, 2013
— fakelawn (@fakelawn) April 17, 2013
America’s subtle racists would like to thank Louie Gohmert for making them look so subtle.
— John Fugelsang (@JohnFugelsang) April 17, 2013
— Jose Antonio Vargas (@joseiswriting) April 17, 2013
Rep. Gohmert says Islamic terrorists training to “act like Hispanic” livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entry/louie-go… I knew this was going to happen. Knew it.
— EL (@TheTomasRios) April 17, 2013
It wasn’t only those on Twitter who expressed disgust at what Gohmert said. The Hispanic Leadership Network, a Republican organization, repudiated his comments.
“Rep. Louie Gohmert’s comments were unacceptable, offensive, and ignorant,” said executive director Jennifer S. Korn in a statement.
“Using a national tragedy to further his own anti-immigration reform agenda is not only shameful, but also a blatant attempt to disingenuously twist public sentiment at a vulnerable time. We must take a strong stand and making it clear this kind of intolerance has no place in the conservative movement.”