Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » *** UPDATED x2 - Roskam responds - ILGOP: “Repugnant and disqualifying” *** Casten “regrets” saying President Trump has “tremendous amount in common” with Osama Bin Laden
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*** UPDATED x2 - Roskam responds - ILGOP: “Repugnant and disqualifying” *** Casten “regrets” saying President Trump has “tremendous amount in common” with Osama Bin Laden

Thursday, Aug 30, 2018 - Posted by Rich Miller

* First it was “I view abortion as a medical procedure like a gall bladder surgery” and now this

Democratic congressional hopeful Sean Casten said he thought President Donald Trump had a “tremendous amount in common” with al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden, the man responsible for the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

“In many ways—and I don’t mean to sound overly, I don’t know, hyperbolic on this—Trump and Osama Bin Laden have a tremendous amount in common,” Casten said, according to audio of a February meeting with voters that was obtained by the Free Beacon […]

Casten, a “clean energy entrepreneur” who emerged on top of a tight primary in Illinois’ sixth district in March, made the bizarre comparison after he was asked by a voter for his plans to advance gun-control legislation if he were elected. The comment was part of Casten’s explanation that gun-control opponents, whom he appears to be comparing to al Qaeda supporters, are what will keep gun-control legislation from advancing to the House floor.

“They have both figured out how to use the bully pulpit to activate marginalized young men,” Casten said. “Every demagogue has done this—find a group of angry people and give them something to be angry at.”

Raw audio is here. Here’s the snippet

* I reached out to the Casten campaign for a response…

Sean’s words were poorly chosen, and he regrets them. Even prior to this election, Donald Trump’s politics of disparagement and division have been exacerbating the bonds that hold our diverse nation together. And Sean believes that Donald Trump has gone out of his way to divide Americans for his own personal gain rather than bringing us together to solve issues like gun violence.

*** UPDATE 1 *** ILGOP…

Democrat Sean Casten’s recent comparison of President Donald Trump to Osama Bin Laden is disrespectful, repugnant, and disqualifying” Illinois Republican Party Executive Director Travis Sterling said. “In this era of deep partisanship this type of harmful rhetoric shows that he is out of touch with the communities in Sixth district.

*** UPDATE 2 *** From Roskam’s communications director Veronica L. Vera…

Sean Casten has called Republicans pedophiles, likened abortion to gallbladder surgery and called Republican Party donors ‘a bunch of morons.’ Our communities need a solutions-oriented Representative who can bring people together to get things done. This kind of hateful, vicious language is exactly the wrong approach.


  1. - Saluki - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:38 am:

    Trying to sound intelligent can often be a difficult task. I should know, I struggle with it everyday.

  2. - DuPage Saint - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    He certainly has a way with words

  3. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:40 am:

    Just because I agree with him doesn’t mean I think he should say that out loud.

  4. - City Zen - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:43 am:

    In Casten’s 63 word statement, the actual apology is 9 words and the Trump diatribe is 54.

  5. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:43 am:

    –“In many ways—and I don’t mean to sound overly, I don’t know, hyperbolic on this…–

    Are you sure about that?

    It’s okay to think before speaking, and choose words that actually advance your objective.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:46 am:


    ===“…bully pulpit to activate marginalized young men,” Casten said. “Every demagogue has done this—find a group of angry people and give them something to be angry at.”===

    Bin Laden then used that anger in ways…

    Its terribly troubling to find parallels with the worst foreign terrorist in our country’s history… and the politics of someone whom you disagree… and find our process of elections here… omitted.

    I wouldn’t call Casten a uniting candidate, looking for our better angels in America. I see Casten, while retracting this awful language, as someone willing to himself fuel a divide for political purposes, and using a comparison that allows Trump supporters to be marginalized, as Casten seems to chastise those same people for feeling… marginalized.

    This is something that won’t be forgotten.

    The marginalizing of those Casten hoped to use as an example of pure hyperbole shows a clear lack of understanding of how to unify and how to be that person willing to be a bridge to all.

  7. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:47 am:

    This is the third unforced error from Casten, at least. Who’s advising him on this stuff?

    Maybe one of the women in that primary would’ve been a better choice.

  8. - TopHatMonocle - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:49 am:

    Pro tip, if you feel the need to start out by saying “I don’t mean to sound overly hyperbolic” maybe don’t say it at all.

  9. - Not a Superstar - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:50 am:

    This is, sadly, Roskam’s only chance to retain his seat. Can’t wait for the MS-13 ads.

  10. - Duopoly - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:51 am:

    ==”…disrespectful, repugnant, and disqualifying” ===

    Could also be used to describe Trump, add “crooked” and you’ve got Trump.

  11. - BlueDogDem - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:51 am:

    Isn’t this Casten fellow distantly related to Maxine Waters?

  12. - thunderspirit - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:51 am:

    Unsolicited advice for Casten: think, THEN speak.

  13. - Henry Francis - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:52 am:

    Obviously a stupid thing to say. No excuse.

    Where was all this outrage when people made worse comparisons and said worse things about the previous president?

  14. - MickJ - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    Caten’s silly statement was positively Trumpian but, apparently, some think only Trump can say things like this.

  15. - Texas Red - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:55 am:

    Rookie mistake, his misguided public statement appeals possibly to only the most strident of progressives that are already likely to vote for him, while it will anger and alienate many independents particularly veterans.

  16. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:56 am:

    –In Casten’s 63 word statement, the actual apology is 9 words and the Trump diatribe is 54.–

    Thank you, for the nerd update.

  17. - WSJ Paywall - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:57 am:

    Casten’s words were poorly chosen. But a Republican campaign trying to deem statements as “disqualifying” nowadays? As if they have any

  18. - Macbeth - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 11:59 am:

    Trump can say anything he wants. He can lie and insult.

    I don’t like it — but that’s the narrative now. That’s the way it works.

    The ILGOP can condemn him. Whatever. Sad!

    No collusion.

  19. - wordslinger - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:00 pm:

    To the update: Listen the state GOP mouthpiece here — they know from repugnant congressional candidates.

    I mean, they allowed free-and-open paths to a Nazi and a 9/11 conspiracy nut to win GOP nominations.

  20. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:01 pm:

    ===…some think only Trump can…===

    Here. Pay attention.

    Trump gets called out constantly, consistently, and daily.

    The difference is… only Trump can be “Trump”… and seemingly “get away” with his reckless language. Others, not so much.

    That’s *the* difference.

  21. - Just Observing - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:01 pm:

    Yep, “disqualifying” is quite the stretch.

  22. - CentrIL - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:03 pm:

    He sounds “mentally ill” in his longboard winded diatribe

  23. - MickJ - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:06 pm:

    “That’s *the* difference.”

    Let me know when Trump gets disqualified.

  24. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:10 pm:

    ===Let me know when Trump gets disqualified.===

    Again, (sigh) you seem to be missing the criticism Trump also got, even by Republicans, and during his own campaign being called out and his statements “disqualifying”

  25. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:11 pm:

    What a terrible thing to say. If Casten wanted to go after trump and not be hyperbolic about it, he should not have compared trump to a terrorist. He should simply have accused trump of aiding and abetting terrorists, like Roskam did to Obama. World of difference between the two. Amateur

  26. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:14 pm:

    I might be more interested in what the IL GOP considered disqualifying if they hadn’t appointed Mrs. Walsh.

  27. - vern - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:19 pm:

    This is the same ILGOP whose co-chair appointed Helene Miller Walsh to the state house? Haven’t heard a word from them about her repugnant views

  28. - Perrid - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:23 pm:

    A very stupid thing to say obviously, but the ILGOP doesn’t get to decide what is disqualifying about their opponents.

  29. - Steve Rogers - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:39 pm:

    If you’re giving a speech and preface something by saying “I don’t mean to sound overly hyperbolic”, that should be your cue not to say what you’re thinking.

  30. - Nick Name - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 12:56 pm:

    The Insulter in Chief’s feelings were hurt? I’m so sad.

  31. - allknowingmasterofracoondom - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:03 pm:

    What Oswego Willy said, exactly.

  32. - Biker - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:16 pm:

    History will not be kind to President Trump. I find it hard to articulate what I perceive to be the damage done by this man to the institution as well as the country. It appears I’m not alone. I think he acknowledges his mistake and is moving forward. If Republicans want to make hay out of this, they should consider their congressional oversight role a duty to their country instead of just their party.

  33. - DuPage Bard - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 1:19 pm:

    When you’re explaining you’re losing

  34. - d.p.gumby - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:18 pm:

    It appears Giuliani was correct: “Truth isn’t truth”

  35. - @misterjayem - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:28 pm:

    Self-discipline is an under-appreciated virtue.

    – MrJM

  36. - VanillaMan - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:40 pm:

    What a nut.

  37. - Anon - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 2:49 pm:

    Trump’s popularity in the district is what, like mid-30s at best? As regrettable as this comment is, people aren’t looking for reasons to get offended on Trump’s behalf. No one who isn’t paid to care about politics will care about this on election day. It’s just grist for a day’s news cycle in a media obsessed with horse race narratives and both-sides-ism. Roskam voting against protection for pre-existing conditions and the Violence Against Women Act and for 95% of Trump’s agenda are far more likely to move the needle with 6th district voters.

  38. - Strategy Geek - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 3:36 pm:

    Wait: Did the Democratic Party of Illinois get to choose the name for the new executive director of the Illinois Republican Party? Is his full name Travis Windsor Sterling III?

  39. - Anon316 - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 3:41 pm:

    Anon 2:49 - I totally disagree with you. Casten is showing himself to be too left wing. And it’s only August. I think I’ll just sit back and enjoy the show.

  40. - Albany Park Patriot - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 3:44 pm:

    If this guy is so smart he should go study how apologies work some more. It will be hard enough to beat Roskam without the total arrogance of some rich-guy candidate getting in the way.

  41. - Responsa - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 3:47 pm:

    A reasonable person can think that the president is a bounder and a blowhard. A reasonable person can be a Republican and not be a fan of Trump and some of his policies. But– most reasonable people–especially in the 6th are not going to accept a challenger to the incumbent who openly compares the duly elected president to Osama Bin Laden. I think this is the day Casten did himself in.

  42. - A guy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 4:19 pm:

    Just imagining 538 is doing a quick re-evaluation on this race.

    This guy has said lots of things just like this to his choir of angry folks out there. This one, like many other are turning off the very voters he considered to be “locked in” for him. Of all the choices in that primary, the angriest and least likable won…and now they’re stuck with him.

    Look for more of these. He spent a lot of time spewing to that wicked choir before coming out in the society of more polite people.

    Just watch. There will be more.

  43. - Anonymous - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 5:01 pm:

    “The comment was part of Casten’s explanation that gun-control opponents, whom he appears to be comparing to al Qaeda supporters…”“They have both figured out how to use the bully pulpit to activate marginalized young men,” Casten said.”

    Casten has no clue whatsoever what the “gun rights” folks look like in Illinois. Take a look at the annual IGOLD march photo on the ISRA website, and you will see a swarm of Richard Pearson look-alikes: aging and overweight, with the mandatory trucker/biker mustache or beard, all gray.

    There are no young people, because young people like to win, not grovel to police unions like Pearson from ISRA, Valinda Rowe from (southern) Illinois Carry, and former (thankfully) NRA lobbyist Todd Vandermyde.

  44. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 5:42 pm:

    I guess Sean Casten wins the Brittany Clingen Carl award for the day.

  45. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 5:46 pm:

    ===Brittany Clingen Carl===

    Was thinking Diana Rickert… but “6/half dozen” situation.

  46. - Anon - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 7:43 pm:

    I mean…where’s the lie in what Casten said? His response should have been “I won’t be lectured on civility by a man who spends every day in Washington doing the bidding of a President who brags about sexual assault.”

  47. - Seymourkid - Thursday, Aug 30, 18 @ 8:32 pm:

    Roskam had no room to criticize Casten’s tone. His ads are a master class in hyperbole.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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