My former boss, Bob Livingston, sent the letter below to the New York Times on Oct. 31. The Times hasn’t published it, so I will. It speaks for itself:
Last night, I attended a very nice gathering of roughly 1000 Egyptians and Americans hosted by some wonderful people seeking to enhance commercial and educational relations between Egypt and the US. For the most part, all of the speakers including your own illustrious Tom Friedman provided positive and uplifting messages of hope and cooperation.
I say for the most part, because there was one notable exception so unexpected and out of context that it was breathtaking. By that I refer to Mr. Friedman’s categorical and unsupported declaration in his closing remarks that 80% of those who politically oppose the Obama administration’s policies are racially motivated.
As a staunch conservative Republican with multiple friends and business partners not of my own race, I was so shocked by his declaration that I practically fell off my chair. None of the other speakers found any reason to discuss race relations in either country, so Mr. Friedman’s statement was gratuitous, contextually odd, and completely erroneous.
When the program was over, I approached him and told him exactly what I thought…in words and phrases of my old sailor days. To his credit, he did not retreat from his position, convincing me that he is either far less intelligent than I thought, or else he saw this gathering as a chance to spread hateful bigotry to an international audience without contradiction.
Robert L. Livingston
Member of Congress (Retired)