More anti-Muslim, conspiratorial tweets emerge from Trump's pick for top UN migration job

Ken Isaacs, the Trump administration pick to head the international organization that coordinates assistance to migra...

Posted: Mar 23, 2018 7:05 AM
Updated: Mar 23, 2018 7:05 AM

Ken Isaacs, the Trump administration pick to head the international organization that coordinates assistance to migrants worldwide, once wrote on Twitter that Austria and Switzerland should consider building a wall in the Alps to keep refugees out.

"#immigration #wall #Austria #Switzerland consider#buildingawall in #Alps to control their borders from refugees," Isaacs tweeted.

The tweet is one of more than 140 previously unreported tweets from before Isaacs was nominated reviewed by CNN's KFile.

CNN's KFile previously reported on tweets from Isaacs that revealed an extensive history of sharing anti-Muslim sentiment. The screenshots provide the most robust picture of his social media activity and a wider window into his views refugees, Islam and climate change -- issues that would be central to his responsibilities in his potential posting at the United Nations.

In several of the newly unearthed tweets, Isaacs shared a post that called climate change a "hoax," shared a story from the conspiracy-peddling website InfoWars about the "Clinton body count," and wrote "#Islam is not peaceful."

Isaacs has made his Twitter account private, meaning only those that he allows to follow him can view his page. Screenshots of the tweets were provided to KFile anonymously and independently verified by matching the now-hidden tweets with still public replies from other Twitter users.

Isaacs, who works in relief efforts for the Christian non-profit Samaritan's Purse, was nominated in February to serve as director general of the UN's International Organization for Migration, a 169-member group whose mission it is to promote "humane and orderly migration" through assistance to both governments and migrants.

Isaacs has come under scrutiny in recent weeks for his social media presence after a report from KFile last week and one from The Washington Post in February revealing he shared anti-Muslim views on social media. In a statement after the February Washington Post report, Isaacs apologized, saying that he "deeply" regretted his comments and adding, "I pledge to hold myself to the highest standards of humanity, human dignity and equality if chosen to lead IOM." According to the Associated Press, he told reports on Monday, "I have re-tweeted many things to stimulate conversation. But at the same time ... have never shown discrimination against anybody, for anything."

Issacs did not respond to a request for comment on this story.

The State Department has pointed to Issacs' apology and expressed continued support for his nomination. Asked about the newly unearthed tweets, the department pointed to a statement that spokesperson Heather Nauert gave to the Post in February.

"Mr. Isaacs has apologized for the comments he posted on his private social media account. We believe that was proper for him to do so," Nauert said. "Mr. Isaacs is committed to helping refugees and has a long history of assisting those who are suffering. We believe that if chosen to lead IOM, he would treat people fairly and with the dignity and respect they deserve. I would refer you to Mr. Isaacs for any information on his statements."

Despite the controversy, Isaacs' nomination appears to be moving forward. A website has launched to support his candidacy and his supporters, including New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, have come to his defense.

"I've known Ken for more than 15 years, and in that period, I've utterly disagreed with him on politics and utterly admired his humanitarianism," Kristof told the Washington Free Beacon. "He has been tireless in fighting for oppressed and desperate people of every faith and complexion, from Sudan to Iraq, Liberia to Bangladesh."

"Far from being an ideologue in his humanitarian work, Ken is a supreme pragmatist in his work to save lives, willing to work with anyone -- even liberal New York Times columnists -- to get the job done."

In June, the IOM's members will hold a vote on Isaacs' appointment. He must receive support of two-thirds of its members to get elected. It has been a longstanding practice for members to elect the US-chosen candidate.

If elected, Issacs will oversee an organization that is actively involved in resettling refugees, many of them Muslim, who have fled from the war torn regions of Iraq and Syria.

Here's a look at what Isaacs shared on Twitter:

On refugees:

In May 2016, Isaacs responded to a tweet saying refugees should be viewed as an asset saying, "refugees with other worldviews won't be the same as other immigrants."

Also in May 2016, Isaacs said that Austria and Switzerland should consider building a wall in the Alps to "control their borders from refugees."

On Islam:

In May 2017, Isaacs shared a link to an article saying Islam was not a religion of peace and warned that during Ramadan, "Muslims fast, they also blast."

In July 2016, after a terrorist attack in Nice, France, Isaacs tweeted out "Nice #Islam is not peaceful" next to a picture from the attack of a covered dead body next to a child's doll.

In response to a June 2016 tweet blaming assault rifles for the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Isaacs simply tweeted "#Islam." That same day, in response to another tweet lamenting the attack in Orlando and the frequency of mass shootings, Isaacs again tweeted "#Islam."

In September 2016, Isaacs tweeted that "All #Islamic #terrorists literally follow #Islam."

In November 2015, Isaacs tweeted, "If Islam is a peaceful religion lets see 2 million Muslims march on Nat Mall condemning jihad, terrorism, & stand for USA." That same month he made similar comments when responding to a tweet from British author Owen Jones, who said it was wrong to equate Islam and terrorism.

In March 2017, Isaacs tweeted a link to a meme titled "What Countries Look Like Before And After Islam," which included pictures of Iran and Afghanistan in the 1970s (despite Islam being the majority religion in both countries at that time), as well as a picture of white shoppers in London in 1980, juxtaposed with a picture of women wearing hijabs in 2012.

In April 2015, Isaacs responded to a CNN tweet about how Islam was the fastest-growing religion, adding, "does it include forced Islamic conversions."

In January 2016, he compared Islam to the People's Temple, a cult founded by Jim Jones responsible for the mass murder-suicide of nearly all of its members in Guyana in 1978.

On climate change:

In August 2017, Isaacs retweeted a user who said climate change was "a big hoax."

A month later, Isaacs dismissed climate science, writing in a tweet saying, "scientists can't predict path of a visible storm yet but certain of manmade climate change. A nutty run on nature."

Conspiracies:

In August 2016, Isaacs tweeted a link to a conspiracy story from Alex Jones of InfoWars saying Google was hiding "Clinton Body Count" stories, a reference to a fringe conspiracy that Bill and Hillary Clinton are linked to numerous murders over the years.

In June 2016, Isaacs shared a tweet pushing a false conspiracy that a United Nations official died the same day he was set to testify against Hillary Clinton and was found with a barbell on his neck.

Isaacs also retweeted a June 2017 tweet that promoted a conspiracy theory about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich.

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