Trump Asks if Muslims Will Get Special Treatment in Coronavirus Lockdowns

April 17, 2020, Washington, District of Columbia, USA: United States President Donald J. Trump speaks during a press briefing with members of the coronavirus task force in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on April 17, 2020 in Washington, DC (Credit Image: © Oliver Contreras/CNP via ZUMA Wire)

The coronavirus is a rapidly developing news story, so some of the content in this article might be out of date. Check out our most recent coverage of the coronavirus crisis, and subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

On Saturday, Donald Trump promoted a tweet from a conservative author who was just-asking-questions: would mosques be subjected to the same social-distancing restrictions during Ramadan as churches were during Easter?

It’s sort of a weird premise. Is the idea that Muslim places of worship are typically treated more generously from local governments and law enforcement? Activists from New York City to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, have tried to block Muslim residents from even building mosques; mosques have been subjected to (sometimes unconstitutional) surveillance; and the current president of the United States ran for office on literally banning Muslims from entering the United States. In any event, social-distancing guidelines in some parts of the country might be very different in late May than they were on Easter Sunday, which was during the heart of the pandemic.

At his press conference on Saturday evening, a reporter read the tweet back to the president.

“I would like to see that,” Trump said. As in, he too was wondering if local authorities would treat mosques differently than churches.

“You know I just spoke with leaders and people that love mosques,” he continued. “They love mosques! And I’m all in favor of that. But I would say that there could be a difference. And we’ll have to see what will happen. Because I have seen a great disparity in this country. I’ve seen a great disparity. I mean I’ve seen a very strong anti-Israel bent in Congress with Democrats. It was unthinkable seven or eight or 10 years ago, and now they’re into a whole different thing. Between Omar and AOC—I saw AOC plus three, add them on. You have, the things that they say about Israel are so bad. And I can’t believe it. Just a minute. So I would be interested to see that. Because they go after Christian churches but they don’t tend to go after mosques. And I don’t want them to go after mosques! But I do want to see what their event is—”

There was a weird digression there, from a question about a religious holiday to a rant about Democratic critics of the Israeli state. So the reporter followed up: was he suggesting that imams wouldn’t follow social-distancing guidelines?

“I just had a call with imams,” Trump said. “I just had a call with ministers, rabbis. We had a tremendous call with the faith leaders. No, I don’t think that at all. I am someone that believes in faith. And it matters not what your faith is but our politicians seem to treat different faiths very differently. And they seem to think and I don’t know what happened with our country, but the Christian faith is treated much differently than it was, and I think it’s treated very unfairly.”

There’s a lot that’s wrong there, but you can’t argue with “our politicians seem to treat different faiths very different.” Just look at the current occupant of the Oval Office himself.

WE'LL BE BLUNT:

We need to start raising significantly more in donations from our online community of readers, especially from those who read Mother Jones regularly but have never decided to pitch in because you figured others always will. We also need long-time and new donors, everyone, to keep showing up for us.

In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

Please learn more about how Mother Jones works and our 47-year history of doing nonprofit journalism that you don't find elsewhere—and help us do it with a donation if you can. We've already cut expenses and hitting our online goal is critical right now.

payment methods

WE'LL BE BLUNT

We need to start raising significantly more in donations from our online community of readers, especially from those who read Mother Jones regularly but have never decided to pitch in because you figured others always will. We also need long-time and new donors, everyone, to keep showing up for us.

In "It's Not a Crisis. This Is the New Normal," we explain, as matter-of-factly as we can, what exactly our finances look like, how brutal it is to sustain quality journalism right now, what makes Mother Jones different than most of the news out there, and why support from readers is the only thing that keeps us going. Despite the challenges, we're optimistic we can increase the share of online readers who decide to donate—starting with hitting an ambitious $300,000 goal in just three weeks to make sure we can finish our fiscal year break-even in the coming months.

Please learn more about how Mother Jones works and our 47-year history of doing nonprofit journalism that you don't find elsewhere—and help us do it with a donation if you can. We've already cut expenses and hitting our online goal is critical right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate