Almost a month after he was caught on video ranting against Islam at a meeting for the Harris County GOP Precinct 415, Trebor Gordon was fired from his position on the staff of at-large Houston city councilman Mike Knox.
Gordon made national news after the video went viral, showing him railing against Islam in an attempt to keep a Muslim man, Syed Ali, from serving in the Republican party.
"I move to remove the chairman and founder of the Muslim Council of USA Syed Shaid Ali on the grounds that Islam does not have any basis or any foundation. It is in total opposite of our foundation," Gordon said at the meeting. "I would ask you to take into consideration the fact that Islam and Christianity do not mix.
"We can continue to try to be inclusive and I get that. That matters to me," Gordon continued. "But I will also tell you that during my prayer this man did not bow his head. During the Pledge of Allegiance he did not utter a word, he didn't even try to fake it and move his lips. He halfway tried to put his hand over his heart for the Texas pledge. If you believe that a person can practice Islam and agree to the foundational principles of the Republican Party, it's not right. It's not true. It can't happen. There are things on our platform that he and his beliefs are in total opposite from."
Gordon did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Despite the videotaped outburst and Gordon's documented public history of raging Islamaphobia (he consistently spewed anti-Islam sentiments on his Facebook and Twitter pages), Knox, while condemning Gordon's remarks, said last month that Gordon would retain his role as the councilman's "Director of Community Outreach," and would continue working on special projects, including assisting minority-owned businesses.
But now Knox appears to have changed his mind, per a press release from his office announcing Gordon's termination.
"It has become apparent that this is increasingly becoming a distraction in this office and is getting in the way of us being able to actually perform our function, which is to represent the citizens of Houston," Knox said in an interview at his office on Wednesday. "So at some point, although you may have a moral idea one way or the other, the pragmatic thing is, we have to be able to function. It became apparent that Mr. Gordon was not going to be very useful to me in that regard, so we decided to dismiss him."
Knox again said he was unaware of Gordon's anti-Islam stance until the videotaped incident, but a quick survey of Gordon's since-deleted Twitter feed would have clearly showed that he held Islamaphobic beliefs. These tweets, for example, were posted well before Knox hired Gordon in January:
When asked why he was unaware of this, Knox said that he's "not a big Facebook person" and that he doesn't "pay much attention" to social media. He wouldn't elaborate on the vetting process he used when he made the decision to hire Gordon. According to Knox, the details of how exactly an Islamaphobic man came to serve on the staff of a city councilman and earn a public salary while working primarily with minority communities is a "private personnel issue."
Knox did indicate, however, that he'll maybe do a more thorough background check when he searches for Gordon's successor.
"We will seek someone to replace that position at some point in the future, and we will use a system that I think will be more effective," Knox said. "Let's just leave it at that."
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