Trump is not racist towards Arabs or Muslims, claims Lebanese advisor

Lebanese academic Walid Phares said Trump “is certainly not a racist” towards Arabs and Muslims

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Lebanese academic Walid Phares, who is the foreign policy advisor to US presidential candidate Donald Trump, claimed Thursday Trump would surprise Arabs with a conciliatory speech to be delivered this week.

In an interview with the pan-Arab Al-Hayat newspaper, Phares said Trump “is certainly not a racist” and blamed his “lack of expertise in politics” for making comments that are interpreted as racist and fascist towards Arabs and Muslims.

“He is certainly not a racist and nothing on a personal level shows that he is,” Phares said of Trump.

“The opposite is true, a number large of the employees in his companies are from different races… Muslims, women also occupy high positions in his companies, and he has a lot of investments in the Arab and Muslim world with Arab and Muslim partners.”

Phares said Trump did not intend to ban the entry of Muslims to the US, describing the remarks as “illogical and does not reflect his policy or orientation.”

“I have been informed that Trump had planned last December his first tour in the Middle East that was supposed to include Jordan, Egypt and Gulf countries. If he was appointed as a candidate for the Republican Party, he is expected to make this tour.”

Regarding Trump’s exclusionary speech towards Arabs and Muslims, Phares said: “There will be a significant change in the content of his speech, in which he will highlight for the first time his foreign policy lines, which will adopt moderation in the region. And then he will address the Arab and Islamic world and will explain how his statements about preventing the entry of Muslims to the US were a reaction after California’s terrorist attacks and Paris bombings.”

Phares - a Lebanese academic who immigrated to the United States 20 years ago – served part of Mitt Romney's foreign policy team in 2011. He works as an adviser in the US House of Representatives and is also an expert in anti-terrorism affairs.

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