The Biden administration recently announced the formation of a new task force aimed at rooting out cases of alleged Islamophobia, but it appears that the president needs only to look back at his former boss’s own team to find a glaring example.
Stuart Seldowitz, who previously served as a national security adviser to then-President Barack Obama, was reportedly caught on camera during a verbal altercation with a street vendor during which he berated the apparently Muslim individual and assailed the Islamic faith in general.
“The Mukhabarat in Egypt will get your parents,” he said in one clip, referencing a Middle Eastern intelligence agency. “Does your father like his fingernails? They will take them out one by one.”
Seldowitz later admitted that he was the man depicted in the clips that spread widely via social media.
“The bottom line is, yes it’s me,” he confirmed in a statement to the Daily Beast.
Other alarming statements from the clip included Seldowitz calling the Islamic prophet Mohammad a “rapist” and referring to the vendor as a “terrorist.”
“Did you rape your daughter like Mohammad did?” he asked repeatedly.
He later added: “It’s not my fault that you pray to a criminal.”
Seldowitz went on to belittle the “ignorant” food cart operator based on his profession and told him to “learn English,” insisting “it will help you when they deport you back to Egypt and the Mukhabarat wants to interview you.”
He also appeared to weigh in on the ongoing unrest in the region, asserting that if “we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, it wasn’t enough.”
Although he acknowledged he was responsible for the bigoted remarks, Seldowitz said that they came in response to the vendor’s support for the Hamas terrorist group, which was not included in the video posted online.
The controversy was enough to cost Seldowitz his position with the Gotham Government Relations lobbying firm.
Gotham Government Relations has ended all affiliation with Stuart Seldowitz, an individual who hasn't contributed to our work in years.
The video of his actions is vile, racist, and beneath the dignity of the standards we practice at our firm.
— Gotham Government Relations (@GothamGovt) November 21, 2023
Arthur Aidala, the group’s chairman, downplayed Seldowitz’s affiliation with the firm and expressed “surprise” to learn of the remarks.
“No human being should speak to any other human being that way, no matter how emotional and tragic this period of time is in the world,” Aidala explained. “Doing what he did is not going to solve anything, it’s just going to make matters worse.”
Seldowitz is currently facing a criminal charge of harassment.