The White House and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton are condemning Republican candidate Donald Trump for failing to correct a supporter who incorrectly called President Obama a Muslim, while fellow Republican candidate Ben Carson is more reserved in his reaction.
WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 18, 2015) (RESTRICTED POOL) – Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump came under fire on Friday (September 18) from Republican and Democratic rivals and the White House for not correcting a man who called President Barack Obama a Muslim at a Trump campaign event.
Trump, who in the past has expressed doubts about whether Obama was born in the United States, was told by a man at a town hall event on Thursday in Rochester, New Hampshire, that, “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims.”
“We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American,” the man said.
Trump did not interrupt the man or challenge his contention in any way.
The billionaire developer’s rise to the top of the Republican field in the race for a November 2016 presidential nominee has been impervious to the various controversies that erupt around him almost daily.
At the daily briefing in Washington, D.C., White House spokesman Josh Earnest called the comment offensive and said it was designed to appeal to conservative voters. But he said the plan would backfire.
“This is a cynical strategy that too many Republican politicians have dabbled in because, for some of them, it’s proved to be successful, but there are consequences for it,” said Earnest. “There are consequences for their ability to govern the country, and there are consequences at the ballot box, too, because I’m confident that voters are paying attention.”
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton strongly condemned Trump for not correcting the questioner, and called on all her rivals to repudiate his views.
“He knew, or should have known, that what that man was asking was way out of bounds, it was untrue, and he should have, from the beginning, repudiated that kind of rhetoric, that level of hatefulness in a questioner in an audience he was appearing before,” Clinton told supporters in New Hampshire. “So I would call on him and call on all of the candidates to stop this descent into the kind of hateful, mean-spirited divisive rhetoric that we have seen too much of in the last months.”
Fellow Republican candidate Ben Carson was more restrained in his response. He didn’t condemn the comment or Trump’s reaction, but implied that he would have handled the sitatuation differently.
“One must always analyze the questions carefully. That’s something that I’ve come to learn because sometimes you just go into answering mode without thinking about it and when you do that, you generally don’t fall into that kind of situation.”