President Obama praised the aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., wants investigated for ties to the Muslim Brotherhood during a White House event acknowledging Muslim religious traditions.
Obama made his comments as he discussed noteworthy Muslim Americans. “And that includes a good friend, Huma Abedin, who has worked tirelessly — worked tirelessly in the White House, in the U.S. Senate, and most exhaustingly, at the State Department, where she has been nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear,” Obama said this evening, according to the White House transcript. “Senator Clinton [sic] has relied on her expertise, and so have I.”
The president then thanked Abedin for her service, in an implicit rebuke to Bachmann. ” The American people owe her a debt of gratitude — because Huma is an American patriot, and an example of what we need in this country — more public servants with her sense of decency, her grace and her generosity of spirit,” Obama said. He made his remarks during an Iftar dinner – a traditional Muslim meal that breaks a day of fasting — that the White House has hosted since the Clinton administration.
Bachmann mentioned Abedin in a letter to the State Department inspector general calling for an investigation into efforts by the Muslim Brotherhood to conduct “influence operations” against the United States.
“[T]he Department’s Deputy Chief of Staff, Huma Abedin, has three family members — her late father, her mother and her brother — connected to Muslim Brotherhood operatives and/or organizations,” Bachmann wrote in a June 13 letter. “Her position affords her routine access to the Secretary and to policy-making.”
When the letter went public in July, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., criticized Bachmann for making “scurrillous” accusations in the letter. “These allegations about Huma Abedin and the report from which they are drawn are nothing less than an unwarranted and unfounded attack on an honorable woman, a dedicated American and a loyal public servant,” McCain said in the Senate floor on July 18th.