WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, publicly silent all week about the growing violence in the Middle East, came out hard Friday at the Values Voter Summit, where she accused the Obama administration of pursuing a policy of "apology and appeasement across the globe."
Resurrecting her accusations about the alleged influence of radical Islamists in the federal government, the Minnesota Republican said administration officials cooperated in an Islamist request last year for a "complete purge of any federal materials from references to the ideology of Islam, to ensure that all trainers in our U.S. military, our FBI and other U.S. security agencies be retrained so they would be brainwashed in political correctness toward Islam."
"It's breathtaking," Bachmann said, "never been done before." Bachmann offered no details or corroboration for her claim.
Her speech echoed criticisms leveled by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who accused Obama of initially sympathizing with the attackers of the U.S. mission in Libya.
Bachmann's speech also came hours before the president led a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland to honor the four Americans killed Tuesday in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
The White House declined to comment on Bachmann's remarks. But St. Cloud businessman Jim Graves, Bachmann's DFL opponent in the Sixth Congressional District, released a statement denouncing them.
"On a day where violence is growing in the Middle East, her craven attempt to use the situation to score political points is offensive and outrageous," Graves said. "For her to have the audacity to blame our commander in chief for the horrific events that have transpired overseas is an insult to the very institutions and principles she claims to defend."
Bachmann also accused the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, one of the world's largest Islamic organizations, of trying to "implement sharia-based speech code requirements worldwide."
Bachmann made the same claims in June, when she requested investigations of Muslim Brotherhood "influence operations" inside government, singling out Huma Abedin, a Muslim aide to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Her original accusations created a national furor and were denounced by congressional leaders in both parties, including Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain. Since the Abedin controversy, Bachmann's requests for multiple investigations appear to have been brushed aside. A 90-day deadline she and other conservative Republicans set for "corrective action" passed this week with no official announcements from either government investigators or from Bachmann.
Kevin Diaz is a correspondent in the Star Tribune's Washington, D.C. bureau.