Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump defended his response to an anti-Muslim question over the weekend by explaining that he would not call out anti-black racists at his campaign events either.
During a town hall in New Hampshire last week, a questioner had asked Trump when the United States government was going to “get rid” of the Muslims.
“You are running to be the president of the United States of America,” CNN’s Jake Tapper reminded Trump on Sunday. “This man said — quote — ‘We have a problem in this country and it’s called Muslims.’ You are not responsible for what he says, but this is raw unvarnished ignorant bigotry.”
Trump argued that correcting his supporter would have been the “politically correct” thing to do.
“Are you trying to say we don’t have a problem?” Trump asked. “I have friends that are Muslims, they are great people, they are amazing people. And most Muslims, like most everything, they are fabulous people, but we certainly do have a problem. I mean, you have a problem throughout the world.”
“What’s the problem?” Tapper pressed.
“Well, you have radicals who are doing things,” the billionaire insisted. “It wasn’t people from Sweden who blew up the World Trade Center, Jake.”
“I get that, but to say we have a problem and it’s called Muslims because there are some extremists Muslims, it tarring all Muslims,” the frustrated CNN host pointed out.
“It’s a problem in this country and it’s a problem throughout the world,” Trump asserted.
“What if he had said we have a problem in this world, it’s called blacks?” Tapper wondered. “Would you have said something then?”
“No,” Trump replied. “I would have probably just — I listened to his question. I mean, who am I? I listened to his question, he made a question slash, probably, statement. And I listened to his question, and I actually didn’t respond.”
“But we do have a problem with radical Muslims, there’s no question about that,” he added. “I think you would be the first to admit that.”
“I don’t think it’s the same thing as saying we have a problem with Muslims,” Tapper concluded. “But I don’t think we’re going to get very far.”
Watch the video below from CNN’s State of the Union, broadcast Sept. 20, 2015.