Why Trump’s response to “Obama is a Muslim” sadly is not surprising

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. Photo credit: Gage Skidmore (Creative Commons)

Yesterday in New Hampshire, Donald Trump was asked a question by a man who directly said that President Obama is a Muslim and not an American.

Per CNN:

“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.”

As you can see in the below clip, Trump did not correct the questioner.

Now, Trump, of course, has been a prominent exponent of the claim that “Obama’s not even an American.”

He’s a birther who claimed he had private investigators looking into the validity of Obama’s certificate — and he has never released any such report or said he was incorrect in his ungrounded suspicions about Obama not being born in the United States.

While Trump has never, to my knowledge, said that Obama is a Muslim, he didn’t correct the man at the event and his press secretary hasn’t either.

Trump’s response is in synch with a significant percentage of Republicans

Many Republicans think Obama is a Muslim, with fewer believing he wasn’t born in the U.S.

According to a recent CNN poll, 43% of Republicans think Obama is a Muslim. 19% said he was born in another country and 12% had no opinion about where Obama was born.

In this same poll, among Tea Party supporters, 47% believe Obama is a Muslim, with 13% having no opinion.

Another recent poll, from PPP, found 54% of Republicans believing Obama is a Muslim.

In Maine, we’ve seen a Republican state senator, Michael Willette, who endorsed anti-Muslim views and tied President Obama to ISIS. Willette later apologized.

And what a contrast to John McCain in 2008

Back then, when a woman at a town meeting said that Obama was “an Arab” that frightened her, McCain corrected her politely.

Sen. McCain also said that Obama was a good person with whom he disagreed.

At the time of this writing, while Hillary Clinton has criticized how Trump responded, no Republican candidates have done so.

 

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Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.