Donald Trump Blasted For Not Challenging Anti-Muslim Attendee at Event
Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders demand the billionaire business mogul apologize.
Politicians and journalists are criticizing GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump for failing to correct an event attendee who referred to Barack Obama as a Muslim.
During a Thursday rally in Rochester, New Hampshire, a man asked Trump a question, but prefaced it with: "We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one," to which Trump responded "right." The attendee then added: "You know he's not even an American."
Those enraged by the back-and-forth took to social media and demanded that Trump apologize for not correcting the man, including Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.
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
Trump must apologize to the president and American people for continuing the lie that the president is not an American and not a Christian.— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 18, 2015
Fellow GOP candidate Chris Christie told Matt Lauer on the Today Show Friday morning that he would have corrected the man had the comment been made at a rally for the New Jersey governor.
"[Trump] has to decide how serious of a candidate he wants to be, and how he handles problems like this are going to determine that," Christie said.
Hardball host Chris Matthews compared the Trump exchange to one similar during the 2008 election season when Republican presidential nominee John McCain corrected an event attendee who called Obama an "Arab."
Trump was in "birther" mode laughing with a fan who said Obama was a Muslim, not an American. Could have been McCain moment- he failed it.— Chris Matthews (@hardball_chris) September 18, 2015
In a statement cited by The New York Times, Trump defended his decision not to intervene while the man was making his comments about Obama.
"The media wants to make this issue about Obama," Trump said, according to The Times. "The bigger issue is that Obama is waging a war against Christians in this country. Christians need support in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake."
A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.