Election 2020

Members of Trump's Mideast Coalition Like His 'America First' Vow

Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event Oct. 22, 2016, in Gettysburg, Pa. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON – The American-Mideast Coalition for Trump gathered in D.C. this past week to formally endorse Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The group bills itself as “representatives of United States citizens from Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Iraqi, Arab, Assyrian, Syriac, Yazidi, Sudanese, Berber, Iranian, and other communities from the Greater Middle East” and of “various ancestries, ethnicities and religions.”

There are four founding members of the executive committee, which has been backing Trump since the primaries, on staff as well as representatives for Florida, California, Illinois, New Hampshire, Indiana, New York, Connecticut and the Midwest.

Members of the coalition spoke to PJM about their support for Trump’s policies on immigration, national security and foreign affairs.

Nahren Anweya, an Assyrian Christian activist, said Trump is the only candidate speaking up for Christians in the Middle East.

“Our people are on the verge of extinction so Mr. Trump is the only one that has spoken very deeply about the Christians in Iraq and in the Middle East, and he is not racist. He is not a bigot. If anything, she [Clinton] is. She actually made statements before against African-Americans, calling them super predators,” Anweya said at the event, held at the Omni Shoreham Hotel.

“She will say things but she will also never do them so we need someone like Donald Trump who is firm with his words, who is not wishy-washy, who will actually carry out the plans, the strategies — to put a plan that will work. We are tired of the same promises we have been hearing for decades,” she added.

Anweya said a Clinton presidency would lead to the end of Christianity in the Middle East because “she’s going to follow the same foreign policies that President Obama is doing.”

PJM asked Anweya if she agrees with Clinton’s argument that Trump’s strong rhetoric against radical Islamic terrorism could help terrorist organizations recruit.

“The way that we lost power in our country — we went from a majority to a minority — is from sleeper cells. The problem is if we don’t close our borders they are coming in whether anyone likes it or not. It’s impossible to vet these people so these people are already planted in sleeper cells within the United States — that’s a fact,” she replied.

Mojgan Ross supports Trump’s plan to increase security along the U.S. border and build a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Before everything for me in this country it is the security. It is closing the borders because we need to take care of our own problem — if anything, first America and second other people, but Mrs. Clinton she’s saying, first all others and after the American,” she said.

Ross, who has a Persian mother and Russian father, said Iran and France have been “destroyed” by “fanatic” Muslims since 1979.

“After ’79 Iran was completely destroyed by the fanatic Muslim. And I was raised in France and I did see France was destroyed by the fanatic Muslim – not all the Muslim, but the fanatic Muslim – and obviously one of the reasons Mr. Trump is stopping and they want to stop that kind of immigration is because we cannot really check on them, unfortunately,” she said.

“You don’t know who you are going to have here — fanatics or not fanatics — and I believe we are the last bastion of the freedom. I’m talking about the United States of America and if we don’t defend our freedom and if tomorrow all these fanatic Muslim come here and live here, they are going to tell me what I am supposed to do and they push their own religion — what are we going to do? They are using our own laws against us. Therefore, I am for Mr. Trump and I think Mr. Trump is the only chance we have,” she added.

Mitsuo Nakai said the controversy that resulted from Trump’s position on limiting immigration from countries in the Middle East and his plan to build a wall is “garbage.”

“The controversies — they may think it’s a controversy but it’s minor. It’s garbage. They can’t take your eyes off the main issues that this country faces, which is immigration, refugees, Iran, ISIS, building a wall — these are the main — Constitution, these are the main subjects. Everything else is just garbage. People tend to pay attention to garbage,” he said.

Sal Saygin Simsek, who was representing Secular Turks for Trump at the event, told PJM that his group supports Trump’s opposition to “globalism.”

“We support Mr. Trump. Number one, Mr. Trump says Americanism, not globalism will be our credo. Secondly, we believe that Mr. Trump is the right person to fight against jihadists and Marxist-Leninist terrorism,” he said. “Let’s not forget the world has suffered a lot from Marxist-Leninist terrorism in the 20th century and it is one of the biggest threats in the 21st century.”

Ahmad Sidi Moila said he supports Trump’s plan for “extreme vetting” of individuals from the Middle East seeking entry into the United States.

“I believe Mr. Trump will stop al-Qaeda and ISIS and he makes a difference between a good Muslim and a bad Muslim, that’s why we are with him, you know, and he understands how we feel,” he said. “ISIS is different — not like Muslim people. We are a good Muslim and we are good citizens when we live here, you know, and he believes like we are not terrorists. He’s not racist with Muslims. He just don’t like ISIS and al-Qaeda and we don’t like them, too; that’s why we support him.”

Walid Phares, a foreign policy advisor for the Trump campaign, said the coalition’s gathering was a response to the attacks Trump has received from Democrats. He told the audience that members of the coalition are diverse and “represent both genders equally.”

“They said he is a racist. Tonight we saw who supports Donald Trump, always. They said he is Islamophobic — tonight we saw Shia, Sunni, Jews, Christians…from the MidEast and beyond, supporting him,” Phares said during a speech at the event.