Proving he’s not running for anything anymore, President Barack Obama visited a Baltimore mosque. It was the first time in his presidency that he’s visited a mosque on U.S. soil. The visit was cast as an effort to dampen the fire started by GOP candidate Donald Trump, who has called for banning Muslims from entry into the country and generally stoked the flames of intolerance.
On his visit, Obama had the gall to utter the words “Muslim Americans keep us safe,” before going on to explain this conservative-radio-talk-show-bomb-of-a-statement by enumerating how: “They are our police. They are are firefighters. They’re in Homeland Security.” Obama has nothing to lose by firing up Rush Limbaugh types with calm sensible talk about “law-abiding patriotic Muslim Americans.” But while both Democrat candidates for president, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton, have made statements very close in content to Obama’s — cautioning against the dangers of marginalizing Muslims because of paranoia and fear — only Sanders has risked being seen at a mosque. Clinton visited a mosque in Egypt with Obama in 2009, but it’ll be a surprise if she visits one between now and when a candidate is chosen. The sad thing is the optics of a visit are probably still too dangerous for the Clinton campaign. It would be seen as provocative. She’d have to wear a veil — and the photo will dominate the news. It’d be a courageous statement.