US Senator James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma, went on Rachel Maddow‘s show on Thursday, March 15. He appeared on the show to promote his book in which he reportedly denounced scientific claims about “global warming.”
But in the second half of their interview, the talk show host confronted Inhofe about Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill. For the past few years, Inhofe’s name has repeatedly been circulated along side reports about the roots of the controversial legislation. Maddow asked Inhofe if he had any associations with the people who are behind that effort, and if he is for or against the bill.
The Senator seemed unprepared for the question, which was odd considering he had just told Maddow he was a frequent viewer of her show. He seemed to express some indignation or confusion, possibly contradicting himself by saying he had great knowledge about Uganda yet knew nothing about the country’s legislation, its very famous headline-making bill, or its anti-gay sponsor, David Bahati:
“Are you saying? Are you suggesting, Rachel — I want to make sure that everyone understands this — that I am for executing gays? That I somehow knew something about what their philosophy is over there and what they’re doing legislatively? I know Uganda… I know Africa probably better than anyone else, certainly in the United States Senate. I’ve spent a lot of time over there, I’ve developed close relations over there….”
Maddow quoted a NY Times interview in which Bahati claimed his inspiration came after he had a conversation with Americans from The Fellowship (a religious political group that Inhofe allegedly has close ties to, aka The Family):
“Can you tell me who he is? I’ve never heard of him…. How would I know? How could he? I don’t have any idea who you’re talking about. And I certainly don’t have any idea on these accusations of executing gays. You know, let’s talk about the book. Let’s talk about something to do with global warming instead of getting off into these hysterical things…. I don’t know anything about it. And the individuals you’re talking about, I don’t know.”
This 2008 NBC report explains a bit about Doug Coe and his long-running influence over leading Republicans and Democrats: