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 in Washington that Obama 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’s 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. Her speech also came hours before President Obama led a ceremony at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to honor the four Americans killed in an attack, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The White House declined comment. But St. Cloud businessman Jim Graves, Bachmann’s DFL opponent in the Sixth Congressional District, released a statement denouncing Bachmann’s remarks.
“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 (OIC), one of the largest Islamic organizations in the world, 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 the U.S. government, singling out in Huma Abedin, a Muslim aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Since then, her office has promoted a speech by an Obama critic Andrew McCarthy allegedly connecting Abedin to al Qaeda. The race between her and Graves also has tightened.
Her original accusations in June created a national furor and were denounced by congressional leaders in both parties, including Arizona Sen. John McCain. Graves cited the controversy in his response to Bachmann’s Values Voter remarks.
“Her speech this morning wasn’t about making our country safer,” Graves said. “It was about making Michele Bachmann more of a celebrity. This line of attack was already denounced by her own party following her McCarthy-like witch hunt.”
Since the Abedin controversy, Bachmann’s requests for multiple Inspector General investigations appear to have been brushed aside. A 90-day deadline she and several other conservative Republicans set for “corrective action” passed this week, with no official announcements from either government investigators or from Bachmann.
Multiple requests for an update from her campaign this week went unanswered, although her original call for a federal probe was publicized on her congressional Web site.
In her remarks at the Values Voter Summit, sponsored by the Family Research Council, Bachmann said Obama officials have rebuffed her inquiries “about the identities of who these people were who were leading this purge in our government and what it was they were purging from our training materials.”