Televangelist Pat Robertson, on an episode of his show “The 700 Club,” said that the United States should assassinate Hugo Chavez, the democratically elected president of Venezuela. On Monday, Robertson told his audience, “You know, I don’t know about this doctrine of assassination, but if [Chavez] thinks we’re trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It’s a whole lot cheaper than starting a war…We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don’t need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”
The Bush Administration immediately distanced itself from Robertson’s statement. Robertson has been one of Bush’s strongest allies, often using his show as a platform to support Bush and his policies. Notably, conservative evangelical groups such as the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council, and the Traditional Values Coalition have remained silent, claiming to be too busy to comment, according to the New York Times.
Robertson has a history of making inflammatory remarks, often aimed at lesbians and gay men, so-called “activist” judges, and feminists. At the 1992 Republican Convention supporting former President Bush, Robertson said, “Feminism encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians.”