Running to replace Barbara Boxer in the U.S. Senate, Rep. Loretta Sanchez, D-Santa Ana, is not backing down from comments she made in December about the percentage of Muslims in the world who support jihad. After the San Bernardino terrorist attack, Sanchez appeared on "PoliticKing With Larry King," who asked her about President Obama's reluctance to use the term "radical Islamic terrorism." "A small group" of "anywhere between 5 and 20 percent" of Muslims, Sanchez said, supports a caliphate and is willing to go to extremes to secure one. Because Donald Trump recently had proposed a ban on Muslims entering the United States, critics went after Sanchez for saying something that arguably could support his proposal. She made clear Monday when she spoke with The Chronicle's editorial board that she does not. Sanchez has been a vocal supporter for Syrian refugees. Still, the quote has haunted her.
When the issue came up at The Chronicle-KCRA debate at the University of Pacific in Stockton last month, a Sacramento Bee fact check concluded: "She didn't back away at the debate and, despite ample criticism that they are too high, Sanchez is correct when she says nobody has refuted her numbers with authoritative research. Much of the concern over the comment came from those who believe it is impossible to estimate a worldwide number."