Politics

EXCLUSIVE: US Embassy Paid Speaker Who Compared Trump’s Rhetoric To ISIS

REUTERS/Larry Downing

Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
Font Size:

The U.S. Embassy in Germany paid a terrorism scholar to speak in February in spite of his past writings comparing President Trump’s rhetoric to the extremism of ISIS.

The scholar, Dr. Arie Kruglanski of the University of Maryland, compared Trump’s rhetoric to the terrorist group in a December 2015 op-ed for The Guardian. “Psychologically, Trump’s affinity to Isis is no joke. Both exploit the fear and uncertainty so prevalent in the world today and skillfully cultivate it,” Kruglanski declared.

Kruglanski was nonetheless enlisted by U.S. diplomats in Germany to support Trump’s national security strategy and to participate in dialogues with German counterparts. “Prof. Kruglanski stopped in Düsseldorf, Hamburg and Berlin to introduce his work to a German audience,” the embassy touted on its website at the time.

A spokesman for the U.S. Department of State confirmed the payment to The Daily Caller.

“Dr. Arie Kruglanski traveled to Germany, at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy, to work with our German partners on de-radicalization and countering violent extremism.  This program was part of the Embassy’s efforts to support the President’s National Security Strategy,” the spokesman told TheDC. “In accordance with U.S. Speaker Program regulations, the U.S. Embassy in Berlin paid for Dr. Kruglanski’s travel expenses and provided him with a speaking honorarium.”

Kruglanski defended his invitation, telling TheDC he wasn’t surprised to be invited despite his past comments. “I was invited as a scholar who studies violent extremism a topic that both the U.S. and Germany are very interested. I see it as rather unrelated to columns that I wrote on other topics,” he said.

This is not the first speaker with open animus to the president to be invited by the German Embassy. The U.S. consulate in Frankfurt recently promoted motivational speaker Ricardo Calderón, who has tweeted, “#TrumpIsAFool.”

A Trump administration official familiar with the U.S.-German relationship noted to TheDC that the U.S. Embassy in Germany has been without an ambassador — even though one has been nominated by Trump — for nearly a year and is currently being run by career foreign service officer Kent Logsdon. The official expressed alarm at the pattern of anti-Trump speakers and noted Germany’s continued shirking of White House priorities.

These actions include Germany’s attempts to remain within the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, its recently approved permits to a Russian pipeline opposed by the U.S. and its refusal to join the U.S. and its allies in striking Syrian President Bashar-Al-Assad’s regime.