Dog Whistles

McConnell 'Takes Obama's Word' about Islam

Why do so many Americans believe President Obama is a Muslim? Perhaps because their leaders sanction it: When asked about the persistent myth that President Obama is Muslim, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Meet the Press on Sunday, “The president says he's a Christian, I take him at his word.” Jon Chait at The New Republic explains McConnell’s troubling reply: “The formulation is a way of putatively siding with the truth so that he can't be pilloried by the media, while subtly suggesting that he is open to the views of Americans who think Obama is Muslim.” McConnell used the phrase twice in the interview, proving, Chait says, that it was “not an accident.”