Donald Trump on Thursday night did not correct a supporter who declared that President Obama is a Muslim and not American during a question about “training camps” for Muslims at a town hall event in New Hampshire.
“We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims,” the man began. “We know our current president is one.”
“Right,” Trump said as he was listening to the first part of the question.
“You know, he’s not even an American. Birth certificate, man,” the audience member continued.
While laughing, Trump then said, “We need this question? This is the first question.”
“But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us,” the man 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 responded. “And you know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”
Following criticism of Trump’s failure to correct the man’s assertion about the President on social media, the real estate mogul’s campaign responded in a statement to the Washington Post.
“The media wants to make this issue about Obama. The bigger issue is that Obama is waging war against Christians in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake,” Trump said.
His campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, later gave an interview to the Washington Post, further addressing Trump’s response to the question.
“Mr. Trump was asked about training camps. Mr. Trump answered the question and said, ‘If there are any, we will fix it.’ He said, ‘I will look into it.’ The question was specifically about training camps,” Lewandowski said.
When asked by the Post if Trump believes Obama is a Muslim, Lewandowski said, “I don’t speak for Mr. Trump.”
When Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) ran against Obama in 2008, he was placed in a similar situation, but responded differently. A woman told McCain that she believed Obama was “an Arab.”
“No, ma’am, he’s a decent family man, citizen who I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. And that’s what this campaign is all about,” McCain responded at the time.
Democrats quickly denounced Trump’s response to the question on Thursday night.
“GOP frontrunner 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,” Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) said in a statement.
Donald Trump not denouncing false statements about POTUS & hateful rhetoric about Muslims is disturbing, & just plain wrong. Cut it out. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 18, 2015