Donald Trump has come under fire from both parties for his failure to respond to a question from a man at a townhall meeting that suggested President Obama was a Muslim and wasn’t born in the U.S.
Trump tried to answer without answering but his response did not come out as he intended.
We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims,” an unidentified man who spoke at a question-and-answer town hall event in Rochester, New Hampshire asked the mogul at a rally Thursday night. “You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.”
A seemingly bewildered Trump interrupted the man, chuckling, “We need this question. This is the first question.”
“Anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us,” the man, wearing a “Trump” T-shirt, continued. “That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”
“We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things,” Trump replied. “You know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening. We’re going to be looking at that and many other things.”
The real estate mogul did not correct the questioner about his claims about Obama before moving on to another audience member.
Trump, a notorious birther himself, proved to be too inexperienced to slough off the question and move on. Obviously taken aback by the looniness of the questioner, he tried to be polite but ended up appearing to say, in effect, “I’ll look into that”:
Democrats went gleefully on the attack:
Fellow Democratic hopefuls Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley condemned the remarks.
Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, called the incident a sign of “a lack of moral courage.”
“I don’t know if Trump is using dog-whistle politics to win support in the polls, or if he genuinely believes the racist things he says. Either way, he showed a complete lack of moral courage in that clip, and he has shown once again that he completely unqualified to be President of the United States.”
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz flatly called Trump a racist in a statement.
“GOP front-runner Donald Trump’s racism knows no bounds. This is certainly horrendous, but unfortunately unsurprising given what we have seen already. The vile rhetoric coming from the GOP candidates is appalling,” Schultz said. “(Republicans) should be ashamed, and all Republican presidential candidates must denounce Trump’s comments immediately or will be tacitly agreeing with him.”
READ: Chris Christie: I would have said Obama is Christian
After the event, several reporters asked Trump why he didn’t challenge the questioner’s assertions. Trump did not answer.
But Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s campaign manager, later told CNN that the candidate did not hear the question about Obama being a Muslim.
“All he heard was a question about training camps, which he said we have to look into,” Lewandowski said. “The media want to make this an issue about Obama, but it’s about him waging a war on Christianity.”
Nice try at spinning, but Trump said “right” after the questioner said, “He is one…,” referring to Obama being a Muslim.
The conspiratorial right appears to have found a home in Donald Trump’s campaign. Unless he finds a way to marginalize and neutralize them, the stink from their paranoid fantasies will drive voters into the arms of the Democratic nominee.