Pat Robertson is back-peddling harder than Lance Armstrong, trying to get around his blatant call for the murder of a head of state.
“I said our special forces could take him out. Take him out could be a number of things including kidnapping,” Robertson said of Venezuela’s leader on his “The 700 Club” television program.
“There are a number of ways of taking out a dictator from power besides killing him. I was misinterpreted,” added Robertson.
Let’s see. “Take him out” could mean take him out for a nice dinner and dessert. Or it could mean exposing him as a homosexual or a CIA agent, as in “take him out of the closet.” Now what were Robertson’s exact words on his own T.V. show on Monday again?
“If he thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”
“We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability.”
Not a lot of room to misinterpret that, buddy.
You would think the White House – which is leading the global struggle against violent extremism – would have been among the first to chastise Robertson.
The White House remained silent despite calls by Venezuela and religious leaders including the Rev. Jesse Jackson for Bush to repudiate Robertson’s remarks. However, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld on Tuesday said political assassination was against the law and was not U.S. policy.
Whew, strong stuff – “not U.S. policy.” Torture is against U.S. policy too, which is how we know it doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, the Venezuelans aren’t letting it go so easily.
Venezuelan officials said Robertson’s remarks, while those of a private citizen, took on more significance given his ties to President Bush’s Christian-right supporters.
“Mr Robertson has been one of this president’s staunchest allies. His statement demands the strongest condemnation by the White House,” Venezuela’s ambassador to the United States Bernardo Alvarez said.