For several months, Donald Trump has campaigned for president by largely ignoring traditional notions of decency. Thursday night, however, things reached a new low.
At a Trump campaign rally in Rochester, New Hampshire a man in a “Trump” shirt took the microphone and said, “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims.”
“We know our current President is one,” he added. “You know he’s not even an American.”
“We need this question,” Trump replied, smiling.
Then things turned even darker, as the man discussed his beliefs that Muslims were in training camps plotting to kill.
“That’s my question. When can we get rid of ‘em?” the man said.
Trump was unfazed at the casual suggestion of cultural genocide. “We are going to be looking at a lot of different things. A lot of people saying that,” Trump said.
Notably, Trump did not correct or object to the man’s false characterization of Obama as a Muslim.
Trump also did not dispute the man’s contention that Obama was not an American. Trump has been one of the most prominent “birthers,” insisting that Obama’s birth certificate from Hawaii was faked.
In 2008, a woman at a John McCain event insisted that Obama was “an Arab.” “No ma’am,” McCain replied. “He’s a decent, family man, citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues.”
Trump currently leads the GOP field by 10 points.
Trump responds to the growing controversy:
Asked for more on Muslim q answer, Trump camp sends from him: “Christians need support in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake”
— Kailani Koenig (@kailanikm) September 18, 2015
Trump’s campaign manager made another effort to explain his remarks:
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