Donald Trump ventured into Rochester, New Hampshire for a town hall even last evening that ended with a question and answer period. The first question was about our Muslim problem, which was garnished with a bit of birtherism (via CNN):
Trump is beginning to take Qs in NH. First q is from person who calls President Obama a Muslim. Trump doesn't respond to that assertion.— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 17, 2015
Donald Trump came under fire Thursday night for his handling of a question at a town hall about when the U.S. can "get rid" of Muslims, declining to take issue with that premise and an assertion that President Barack Obama is Muslim.
"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. "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 questioner also added, "birth certificate, man" once he said that Obama wasn't an American, which makes this incident all the more ugly. One could try and argue that the line from A to B when asking this question was so shaky that this person was inquiring as to when we can "get rid" of the training camps, but that might be a stretch. It's seems quite clear that this person wants to boot Muslims from our shores. It's an appalling position, though the birth certificate silliness isn't new to Trump.
In 2011, Trump was asking questions about Obama’s birth certificate, which the president released later that year showing he was born in Hawaii. Regardless, the Donald isn’t sure whether the president was born in America. In July, Trump said he could not definitively say if the president was born in this country, though he added that his campaign would be focused on more important issues.
Yet, it soon created quite the firestorm, with Democratic National Committee chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) making known her disgust over the remarks–and urged all other Republicans to repudiate the remarks. Trump's campaign went into spin mode, or at least attempted to clarify the situation:
Trump stmt to WaPo: "The media wants to make this issue about Obama. The bigger issue is that Obama is waging a war against Christians..."— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 18, 2015
More Trump: "... Christians need support in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake."— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 18, 2015
Trump campaign mgr Lewandowski just called WaPo to discuss Trump comments. Said Trump's response was specifically about training camps Q.— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 18, 2015
When asked whether Trump thinks Pres. Obama is a Muslim, Lewandowski said only Trump speaks for Trump. Criticized press coverage of Q.— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 18, 2015
When asked whether Trump agrees with the questioner and believes Obama is Muslim, Lewandowski said, “I don’t speak for Mr. Trump.”— Robert Costa (@costareports) September 18, 2015
The rest of the Q&A period included a man shouting inaudible remarks at Trump, to which the 2016 Republican presidential candidate simply responded that he might be in trouble with this guy. The man later tried to deliver what appeared to be a bunch of flowers to the billionaire; Trump’s security handled the situation. Another woman didn’t even have a question; she just wanted to relay her nightmarish visions she’s been having of ISIS beheading people, folks being thrown into boxcars as if a new holocaust had begun.
If anything, it was entertaining*. Trump also made clear that he plans to make America great again, the American Dream is coming back if he’s elected, he’ll bring the jobs back from China, Obamacare will be tossed and replaced with something really great, our military will be so great and strong, the vets will be treated properly, and the next venue better have a better air conditioning because it was apparently very hot at the event.
*I don't mean that in a good way, folks.