An Illinois candidate for congress is facing backlash after comparing President Donald Trump to al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden in a recording that was posted to an online news outlet.
Sean Casten, who is running for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District, made the comments during the primary in February. The audio was posted on the Washington Free Beacon’s website on Thursday.
In the audio clip, Casten can be heard saying, “I don’t mean to sound overly hyperbolic in this. Trump and Osama bin Laden have a tremendous amount in common because they both figured out how to use the bully pulpit to activate marginalized young men. Every demagogue has done this, right? Find a group of angry people and give them something to be angry at.”
His campaign said the words were poorly chosen and that he regrets them. The campaign said the comments were made by Casten at an event where he was asked about addressing the gun violence epidemic in the country.
His comments have also gotten criticism from the Illinois Republican Party who, in a statement, said the comments were disrespectful, repugnant and disqualifying.
Read the full statement from Casten’s campaign:
“Sean’s words were poorly chosen, and he regrets them. Even prior to being elected, Donald Trump’s politics of disparagement and division have been straining the bonds that hold our diverse nation together. And Sean believes that Donald Trump has gone out of his way to divide Americans for his own personal gain rather than bringing us together. Not only has Peter Roskam failed to be a check on Donald Trump, both Peter Roskam and Donald Trump have failed to tackle the issue of gun violence which is what Sean was addressing.”
Read the full statement from the Illinois GOP:
Yesterday, Candidate for Illinois’ 6th Congressional District Sean Casten made vile remarks comparing President Donald Trump to Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden. Illinois Republican Party Executive Director Travis Sterling issued the following response:
“Democrat Sean Casten’s recent comparison of President Donald Trump to Osama Bin Laden is disrespectful, repugnant, and disqualifying,” Illinois Republican Party Executive Director Travis Sterling said. “In this era of deep partisanship this type of harmful rhetoric shows he is out of touch with the communities of Sixth Congressional District.”
Casten narrowly beat Barrington Hills Zoning Board member, Kelly Mazeski, in the race for 6th Congressional District. He is now taking on incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Peter Roskam who was unopposed in the primary.
Read the statement from Congressman Roskam’s campaign:
“Sean Casten has called Republicans pedophiles, likened abortion to gallbladder surgery and called Republican Party donors ‘a bunch of morons.’ Our communities need a solutions-oriented Representative who can bring people together to get things done. This kind of hateful, vicious language is exactly the wrong approach.”