ThinkProgress filed this report from the Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines, IA.
Earlier this week, Cain gave an interview to Christianity Today in which he declared that, “based upon the little knowledge that I have of the Muslim religion, you know, they have an objective to convert all infidels or kill them.”
ThinkProgress caught up with the former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza today at the Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, to discuss his comments further. We asked him, in light of his statements on Islam, would he be comfortable appointing any Muslims in his administration. Rather than skirting the question or hedging his answer, as most presidential aspirants are wont to do, Cain was definitive: “No, I will not”:
KEYES: You came under a bit of controversy this week for some of the comments made about Muslims in general. Would you be comfortable appointing a Muslim, either in your cabinet or as a federal judge?
CAIN: No, I will not. And here’s why. There is this creeping attempt, there is this attempt to gradually ease Sharia law and the Muslim faith into our government. It does not belong in our government. This is what happened in Europe. And little by little, to try and be politically correct, they made this little change, they made this little change. And now they’ve got a social problem that they don’t know what to do with hardly.
The question that was asked that “raised some questions” and, as my grandfather said, “I does not care, I feel the way I feel.” I was asked, “what is the role of Islam in America?” I thought it was an odd question. I said the role of Islam in America is for those that believe in Islam to practice it and leave us alone. Just like Christianity. We have a First Amendment. And I get upset when the Muslims in this country, some of them, try to force their Sharia law onto the rest of us.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.
Cain’s apparent rationale for refusing to even consider a Muslim nominee for any position in his administration is as simple as it is abhorrent: he believes all Muslims would try to “force their Sharia law onto the rest of us.” This type of bigotry has been promoted by conservative figures like Frank Gaffney and Brigitte Gabriel for years. Now, it appears to be seeping into the presidential race via Herman Cain.
The title and transcript were updated slightly for accuracy. When asked if he would be comfortable appointing Muslims in his administration, Cain said “No, I will not” rather than “No, I would not.”