Schumer, Gillibrand, Weiner & Obama Silent on Ground Zero Mosque
5:22 PM, Aug 3, 2010 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
As the proposal to build a 13-story Islamic center two blocks from Ground Zero moves forward and controversy surrounding the plan grows, top New York Democrats are maintaining radio silence on the matter.
Senator Chuck Schumer
A spokesman for Senator Chuck Schumer told the Wall Street Journal two weeks ago that the senator is "not opposed" to building the mosque near Ground Zero (as a matter of law, decency, or both, it wasn't clear). But Schumer himself was mum this afternoon following the Senate Democrats' weekly luncheon. Asked by THE WEEKLY STANDARD to elaborate on his position (is the mosque good for interfaith relations? insensitive to 9/11 families?), Schumer didn't reply and ducked into a senators-only elevator, staring blankly ahead while waiting for the elevator doors to close.
A call this afternoon to Schumer's office was not returned. And though a spokesman for New York's junior senator Kirsten Gillibrand told the Journal that Gillibrand supports the mosque, Gillibrand's office also hasn't responded to a request for clarification on the issue from TWS. Meanwhile, the Washington Post's Greg Sargent reports that liberal firebrand Anthony Weiner of New York City will not respond to requests for comment on the Ground Zero Mosque.
President Obama is also declining to take a position on the issue. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said today the decision to build the mosque next to Ground Zero is "rightly a matter for New York City and the local community to decide."
When a reporter asked why Obama would use his powers of moral suasion on other issues where religious freedom is concerned, but not this issue, Gibbs ducked the question and said it was a local matter.
Watch the exchange here:
Earlier today, Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, said he hoped someone would "put the brakes" on the plans for the mosque. This afternoon, New York's Republican mayor Michael Bloomberg defended the mosque in an emotional speech.