This week at a Trump campaign stop in New Hampshire, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump opened up his town hall meeting to questions from his supporters in the crowd. The first question came from a fired-up Trump enthusiast who ignited anti-Islamic rhetoric at the event by posing a question with racist undertones that has leaders from both sides of the aisle calling Trump out.
“We have a big problem in the country. It’s called Muslims,” the man said to Trump. “We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.”
He continued, “But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”
Trump responded, “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. And you know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”
Trump’s vague response did not repudiate the man’s statements and the Trump campaign tried to clear the air by claiming Trump did not hear the question properly. Trump did not correct the man when he stated that President Obama is a Muslim and is not American nor did he ask the man for further clarification.
Other presidential candidates blasted Trump’s inaction on the fiery statements. Hillary Clinton, Governor Chris Christy and Senator Lindsey Graham all spoke out against such hatred. They each called for Trump to refute the man’s comments and stand up against the prejudicial remarks.
Senator Clinton said she was appalled by such anti-Muslim rhetoric. Clinton took to social media.
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
Clinton later said at a campaign event that she would have reacted differently if she were in Trump’s position. “He should have from the beginning repudiated that kind of rhetoric, that level of hatefulness,” Clinton stated.
Republican presidential candidate Chris Christie also criticized Trump’s failure to call out the man on his false accusations. “If someone brought that up at a town hall meeting of mine, I would’ve said, ‘No, listen. Before we answer, let’s clear some things up for the rest of the audience.’ And I think you have an obligation as a leader to do that,” Christie said.
Donald Trump has yet to respond to his critics and even dropped out of an appearance at a major Republican presidential campaign event in South Carolina this Friday. Since Trump is not a Washington insider and has yet to act like one, he may not end up making any remarks on the issue that has taken the campaign trail by storm.