Cole Bockenfeld Quoted in The Hill on Trump’s Address to Muslim Leaders

On May 21, 2017, POMED’s Deputy Director for Policy Cole Bockenfeld was quoted in The Hill regarding President Trump’s address to Muslim leaders on terrorism and challenges in the broader Middle East.

Cole Bockenfeld, deputy director for policy at the Project on Middle East Democracy, said speeches like the one Trump is preparing to deliver are difficult even in the best of circumstances. He cited Obama’s Cairo speech promising a “new beginning,” which was hailed at the time but has since been derided by critics as a promise that has been broken.

“The optimism from that speech faded pretty fast because it wasn’t backed up with policy,” Bockenfeld said.

Bockenfeld said the tone of Trump’s speech would be important.

“The image of any American president lecturing the Muslim world on what Islam should be and how Islam should change is already problematic,” he said. “It’s OK to call for reform and open dialogue, but it has to be done carefully since the optics are going to turn some people off.”

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