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The biggest troll in Congress just tweeted a really racist cartoon

Steve King

Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

See if you can discern his sophisticated political message.

President Barack Obama is not Muslim. No, really, he’s not.

Despite what 34 percent of conservative Republicans believed in a July 2012 Pew poll, the president of the United States is Christian and by all accounts proud of his faith. Yet the president’s recent comments comparing Islam‘s influence on jihadism to Christianity‘s influence on the Crusades have reignited the debate over whether the president is one of Us or one of Them.

Never mind the fact that there are many Muslim Americans productively contributing to our society. The undercurrent of American conservative discourse on Islam is that it is a foreign entity, best known for its inherent and irresistible encouragement to commit violent acts (a compulsion that somehow eludes the overwhelming majority of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims).

It is in this context that Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), an anti-immigrant conservative who has dabbled in birtherism, tweeted a cartoon of President Obama wearing a turban.

An archived version of the tweet is available here, in the unlikely event that Rep. King deletes it. 

Republicans reacted to Obama’s National Prayer Breakfast comments comparing jihadis to medieval crusaders with delirious outrage, seizing on the words as the latest supposed evidence that the president carried an un-American set of values. Cartoonist Glenn McCoy’s depiction of a turbaned Obama is only the latest example of conservative commentators deploying Muslim imagery as a dog-whistle to an Islamophobic base.

Unsurprisingly, the turban has long been a symbol of terrorism—and Obama’s support for it—among conservatives on Twitter.

Talking Points Memo highlighted the fact that McCoy’s brother, a fellow cartoonist named Gary McCoy, illustrated protesters in Ferguson, Mo., as looters last August.

H/T Talking Points Memo | Photo via Gage Skidmore/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Eric Geller

Eric Geller

Eric Geller is a politics reporter who focuses on cybersecurity, surveillance, encryption, and privacy. A former staff writer at the Daily Dot, Geller joined Politico in June 2016, where he's focused on policymaking at the White House, the Justice Department, the State Department, and the Commerce Department.