The White House’s nominee for a top position at the Pentagon has a history of making Islamophobic and inflammatory remarks against prominent Democratic politicians, including falsely calling former President Barack Obama a Muslim.
Retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, a frequent guest on Fox News and ardent defender of President Donald Trump, was nominated to become the under secretary of defense for policy.
If confirmed by the Senate, Tata would become the third highest official in the Pentagon overseeing the Defense Department’s policy shop, including its national security and defense strategy, nuclear deterrence and missile defense policy, and security cooperation plans and policies. The policy chief also closely advises the secretary of defense on national security and supports the Department of Defense’s program and budget decisions.
In several tweets from 2018, Tata said that Islam was the “most oppressive violent religion I know of” and claimed Obama was a “terrorist leader” who did more to harm the US “and help Islamic countries than any president in history.” Following the publication of this story, Tata deleted several of his tweets, screenshots of which were captured by CNN’s KFile.
Tata, in one radio appearance, speculated the Iran deal was born out of Obama’s “Islamic roots” in an attempt “to help Iranians and the greater Islamic state crush Israel.”
Tata also lashed out at prominent Democratic politicians and the media on Twitter, such as California Reps. Maxine Waters and Nancy Pelosi, who he said “have always been the same violent extremists.” In another tweet, Tata called Waters a “vicious race baiting racist.” He used a hashtag in a different tweet that insinuated CNN anchor Don Lemon was on “the liberal plantation.”
The White House’s nomination of Tata on Thursday comes after the February ouster of Pentagon policy chief John Rood, who warned against withholding military aid to Ukraine last year, as the White House moves to install loyalists and prominent Trump defenders across the administration.
Tata is a regular defender of the President and his policy decisions, including Trump’s intervention in the war crimes case of Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher that forced Navy Secretary Richard Spencer to resign.
Tata did not respond to a request for comment. A Pentagon spokeswoman referred questions about Tata to the White House. Spokespeople for the White House did not respond to requests for comment.
The retired general currently works as a senior adviser in the Department of Defense, and previously served for 28 years in the Army before retiring in 2009. An Army investigation conducted in 2007 found he committed adultery with at least two women – a crime under military law – and falsified a legal document, according to The News and Observer. The Army declined to penalize Tata, and Tata provided his military records to the News and Observer, which showed glowing reviews from his tenure.
After his tenure in the Army, Tata worked as the chief operating officer for District of Columbia Public School district from 2009 to 2011 and later as the superintendent of Wake County’s public schools in North Carolina from 2011 to 2012. Later, he served as North Carolina’s transportation secretary. Tata is also the author of a dozen military adventure books and is best known for his “Threat” series.
Called Obama a ‘Muslim’ and ‘terrorist leader’
In 2018, Tata falsely said Obama was a “Muslim” and a “terrorist” while on Twitter, writing “Obama normalized Islam for America.”
After a Twitter user wrote to him that “Obama was not a terrorist sympathizer,” Tata replied, “No he was just a terrorist leader,” adding in another tweet, “He gave $150B to #1 state sponsor of terror so they could destroy Israel.”
The Obama administration did not give $150 billion to Iran. The deal, which was approved by six countries and the European Union, gave Iran access to its own frozen assets and it’s unclear how much those assets were worth.
In another Twitter engagement, Tata reiterated that Obama was a terrorist because of his dealings with Iran, noting that the only joke was that it was considered a conspiracy theory.
“I was joking! Of course it’s not a conspiracy theory. He did more to harm US vital interests and help Islamic countries than any president in history. The Iran deal alone is more than enough evidence of his drive to subvert US national interests to Islam and a globalist agenda,” Tata wrote.
In a follow-up tweet, Tata wrote Obama “is a Muslim who got other countries involved via corporate greed to support a regime (Mullahs) that sponsors anti West hatred and violence using money US unfroze or gave. He made no secret of his belief that a weaker America made for a stronger world.” After a user said there was no evidence that Obama was a Muslim, Tata replied, “Other than him saying he is, no.”
Obama has written extensively about his Christian faith and has never claimed to be a Muslim.
Tata made similar comments about Obama while appearing on radio programs in 2017 and 2018.
During a radio appearance from 2018, Tata called Obama an anti-Semite who wanted to give Iran money so the country could fund terrorist organizations, and that unlike Obama, Trump wanted to defeat ISIS.
“The reason Obama did that was he wanted nothing to impact his Iran nuclear deal because what he wanted was Iran to be flushed with cash so that they could support Hezbollah and Hamas and their fight against Israel because Obama is an anti-Semite,” said Tata. “That was all of the machinations of the Obama administration and he gave birth to ISIS and he also allowed what weapons of mass destruction to use in the Middle East. And so President Trump is simply allowing us to defeat ISIS now which Obama did not want to happen.”
In a radio appearance from March 2017, Tata said Obama “really disliked Israel” and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and speculated that the Iran deal was born “sorta from [Obama’s] Islamic roots to help Iranians and the greater Islamic state crush Israel.”
“I think President Obama really disliked Israel and [I] know he disliked Netanyahu. I think this was in part, you know, sorta from his Islamic roots to help the Iranians and the greater Islamic state crush Israel,” said Tata on the radio show. “If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it’s probably a duck. And so that was what Obama did. He propped up our enemies and the Islamic world, and he undercut Netanyahu in Israel.”
Attacked Democratic politicians and CNN anchor
In addition to disparaging Obama, Tata also criticized Democratic politicians who have vocally criticized Trump, including Waters and Pelosi in June 2018, after Waters called for people to confront and harass Trump Cabinet members in response to families being separated at the southern border.
Tata wrote that Waters and Pelosi, the Financial Services Committee chairwoman and House speaker, respectively, “have always been the same violent extremists” and that Trump threatened their election prospects.
In another tweet from June 2018, Tata called Waters a “vicious race baiting racist who made her chops by fanning the flames of LA Riots after the Rodney King incident. Doubtful she’ll change from what has always worked for her and made her a multimillionaire. Media is scared to touch that third rail so she’ll keep on going.”
Tata also used a racist hashtag against CNN’s Lemon. In April 2018, Tata tweeted his support for then-Fox News personalities Diamond and Silk as they demanded a retraction from Lemon after he played clips of the duo testifying in front of Congress.
“Have to love #northcarolina ladies @DiamondandSilk calling out @donlemon #liberalplantation #MAGA,” tweeted Tata.
This story has been updated to reflect that Tata deleted several of his tweets after the publication of this report.
CNN’s Ryan Browne contributed to this report.