According to CSP’s website, Senator Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Governor Bobby Jindal, Governor George Pataki, and Senator Rick Santorum have confirmed their participation in the event — the third in a series that has included gatherings in South Carolina and Iowa. (Cruz, Jindal, and Santorum spoke at those two summits, and Ben Carson and Donald Trump attended the May 2015 assembly in Iowa).
Billed as an opportunity “to ensure that the common defense receives the priority attention it requires from elected officials and their constituents,” the New Hampshire summit’s topics of focus include the “threat from Iran, Sharia, and the Global Jihad Movement,” and “the border insecurity and immigration crises” among others.
If the hosting organization is any indication of the meeting’s tenor, it is likely to swell quickly to an anti-Muslim register.
CSP’s founder and president, Frank Gaffney, has long advanced a litany of Islamophobic tropes. In a 2009 column for the Washington Times, he argued that Obama was once a Muslim, and “may actually still be.” In 2011, he floated the idea that the manifesto of Anders Breivik, who carried out terrorist attacks in Norway that year, was a “false flag operation” intended to “suppress criticism” of Sharia. And in mid-2012, he stoked controversy over the Muslim Brotherhood, arguing falsely that the group had “infiltrated” the American government.
Gaffney once suggested that the Obama administration’s new missile defense logo was evidence that the president had “submitted” to Islamic law. (He also said the same of David Petraeus and Grover Norquist). The New York Times has highlighted his relationship with David Yerushalmi, the attorney for the designated anti-Muslim hate group, the American Freedom Defense Initiative, and the architect of anti-Sharia legislation that has passed in eight states.
Eleven Republican presidential candidates in total were invited to attend the summit.