The Daily Beast reports: Perched on a hard orange seat high above the dirt floor of the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center, waiting for the Harrisburg Trump rally to start, Pastor Joseph Moussa told me Donald Trump gives him hope, in part, because he reminds him of Assad.
Yes, that Assad — Bashar al-Assad — the one whose army is accused of killing upwards of a quarter-million Syrians. In some important ways, Moussa said, Trump and Assad sound similar. And he likes it.
Besides appreciating Trump’s plainspokenness and apparent invulnerability to pressure from lobbyists, Moussa and other Syrian-American Christians living in Pennsylvania like Trump for a unique reason: They think he will do the least to undermine Assad — and, by extension, the most to protect their fellow Christians back in Syria.
“Mr. Trump, he is the only candidate that ever said, ‘I am an evangelical and I am proud of it, and I am gonna protect the Christians,’” he said.
Like any other ethnic group, Pennsylvania’s Syrian-American community isn’t a monolith. And describing it in sweeping terms is as foolish as it is uninformative. But conversations with numerous Syrian-American leaders in the Keystone State indicate that Trump may find many devoted supporters among their numbers. Many of these Christians fervently back Bashar al-Assad, as they feel he treats Syria’s Christians fairly and is their best protection against spreading Islamist extremism in the region. So they like Trump, as they feel he’s their best hope for limiting Western intervention on behalf of the rebels seeking to take down Assad. To an extent, they see Trump and Assad as two of a kind when it comes to protecting the region’s Christians. [Continue reading…]