Illinois Dem: Trump and Osama Bin Laden Have 'Tremendous Amount in Common'

Sean Casten says Trump and Bin Laden both 'activate marginalized young men'

Sean Casten / Youtube
August 30, 2018

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 and can be heard below.

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."

The full interaction that led to the terrorist comparison, which begins with a woman telling Casten her child was afraid to go to school because of gun violence, can be heard here.

Casten's campaign was sent the audio on Wednesday and chose not to respond to a request for comment and whether he stands by the comparison.

The comment was made during a public "meet and greet" in Wheaton, Illinois. No attendees can be heard objecting to the comparison of the president and the infamous terrorist.

Last year failed Virginia senatorial candidate Tom Perriello was caught by the Free Beacon calling Trump's election "a political and constitutional September 11." He later said he regretted the comparison and apologized.

Casten is running to unseat Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, who has held the seat since 2007 and won by a wide margin in 2016 in a district that Trump lost to Hillary Clinton. The race is currently rated a toss-up by most election prognosticators.