In the U.S., Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert is mostly known for being a cable news fixture with a talent for saying outrageous things, but in Egypt, Gohmert appears to be seen as a truth-telling visionary — by people promoting the conspiracy theory that the U.S. and the Muslim Brotherhood are teaming up to destroy Egypt. The conspiracy theory "is widespread among supporters of the military," The New York Times' Rod Nordland reports. "Many Egyptians refer to YouTube clips played repeatedly by the pro-military news media, quoting Representative Louie Gohmert, Republican of Texas, who recently equated giving $1.5 billion in aid to the Morsi government with support for terrorists."
The clip shows Gohmert on the House floor saying the Obama administration was sending $1.5 billion in aid to Egypt — "not in humanitarian aid, not food — military aid." There are Arabic subtitles and dramatic music plays in the background. According to Google Translate, the title reads, "Congressman exposes Obama's support for the Muslim Brotherhood."
As Nordland explains, $1.2 billion of the American aid is military assistance, and it goes to the Egyptian government, whether it was Hosni Mubarak's or Mohammed Morsi's or, controversially, the current government after the military coup. And President Obama has come under a great deal of criticism for only canceling a joint military exercise with Egypt after the mass killing of pro-Morsi protesters earlier this month. Even so, Nordland quotes many Egyptians who believe the U.S. is backing the Muslim Brotherhood, even if they can't explain why:
“Americans are with the Muslim Brotherhood,” Farouq stated in a tone suggesting that it was common knowledge. “O.K., you did something good when you killed Osama bin Laden, but now you are with Al Qaeda. You support the terrorists.”
Conspiracy theorists would find more to work with by sifting through the congressman's record. In 2012, he suggested members of the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the U.S. government. He reiterated that claim in April, saying, "It's very clear to everybody but this administration that radical Islam is at war against us… [T]his administration has so many Muslim Brotherhood members that have influence that they just are making wrong decisions for America."
But if secular Egyptians looked more closely at Gohmert's record, they might rethink their view of him as an ally. Gohmert once suggested the Aurora theater shootings happened because God has been taken out of public schools.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.