Meet Frank Gaffney, the anti-Muslim gadfly reportedly advising Donald Trump’s transition team

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that amid the Trump transition team shuffle, Frank Gaffney had been brought in to help advise on security issues. (On Wednesday, the Trump team denied Gaffney was advising the transition, but would not confirm or deny whether he’d spoken with Trump this week.) Last year, we took a closer look at the former Reagan official’s controversial career:

In June 2009, shortly after President Obama wrapped up his visits to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the Washington Times ran an opinion piece suggesting that the newly inaugurated president might be the first to be a Muslim.

It starts slowly, saying that Obama might be the “first Muslim president” in the same sense that Bill Clinton was once dubbed the “first black president” — which is to say that he’s not Muslim, he’s just sympathetic to the community. But a few paragraphs later, that conceit evaporates.

“With Mr. Obama’s unbelievably ballyhooed address in Cairo Thursday to what he calls ‘the Muslim world’,” columnist Frank Gaffney wrote, “there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.” That evidence? Obama referred to the “Holy Koran.” He said he knew about Islam. And he used the phrase “peace be upon them” when mentioning Moses, Jesus and Muhammad. Obama, Gaffney wrote, was engaged in “the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia at Munich.”

CNN’s Chris Cuomo, confronting Trump about the proposal on Tuesday, told Trump that CNN “wouldn’t even put that poll on the air. It’s a hack organization with a guy who was dismissed from the conservative circles for conspiracy theories. You know that.” (Trump disagreed.)

Muslim groups take issue with McCain’s vocabulary

A coalition of American Muslim groups is demanding that US presidential candidate and current Senator John McCain stop using the adjective Islamic when describing terrorist and radical enemies of the United States. Muneer Fareed, the head of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), told the Washington Times that his group is commencing a campaign to ask Mr. McCain to rephrase his descriptions. “We’ve tried to contact his office, contact his spokesperson to have them rethink word usage that is more acceptable to the Muslim community […] If it’s not our intent to paint everyone with the same brush, then certainly we should think seriously about just characterizing them as criminals, because that is what they are” said Fareed. An aide to Mr. McCain said that the senator would not drop the word. McCain often uses the term “Islamic” to describe terrorist enemies; however, the two remaining Democratic hopefuls, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, generally avoid usage of the word.