Before he was the frontrunner for the Republican Party nomination, Donald Trump was one of the most vocal "birthers" out there. In 2012, Trump went so far as to challenge Barack Obama to prove his U.S. citizenship for charity and demanded the president hand over his college transcripts to prove that he was, in fact, born in America. So it should come as no surprise when, on Thursday night, Trump failed to correct a supporter when he asked about "getting rid of Muslims" and saying that Obama was one.
Trump held a town hall meeting in New Hampshire the night after the second GOP presidential debate where he had a Q&A session with his supporters.
For the very first question of the night, a man who took to the mic said, “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims."
Trump stood silently as the man continued.
"Our current president is one," the man said. "We know he’s not even an American. We have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question, when can we get rid of them?”
Trump, who never bothered to correct the man, simply responded by saying, "We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things.
“A lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there," Trump added. "We’re going to be looking at that and a lot of different things.”
The moment was a reminder of a similar situation that happened on the campaign trail in 2008 when then-GOP nominee Sen. John McCain held a Q&A where a supporter said she didn't trust Obama because he was "an Arab."
Unlike Trump, however, McCain quickly seized the mic and corrected the woman, saying, "No, ma'am. He's a decent family man, citizen that I happen to have disagreements with."
It didn't take long for Democrats to pounce on Trump for his lack of taking control of the supporter's claims, with Hillary Clinton jumping on Twitter and criticizing him for "not denouncing false statements" about Obama.
She also called the hateful rhetoric about Muslims "disturbing."
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
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz released a statement of her own
"GOP front-runner Donald Trump's racism knows no bounds," Wasserman Schultz's statement reads. "This is certainly horrendous,
Meanwhile, a recent CNN poll found that 29 percent of Americans believe Obama is a Muslim. That number grows to 43 percent among Republicans.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.