POLITICS

Sanders, Clinton Call Out Trump For Failing To Correct Anti-Muslim Questioner

"Let’s stop the racism. Let’s stop the xenophobia."

Donald Trump has taken a lot of heat following an interaction with a questioner at a New Hampshire town hall event Thursday, in which the Republican presidential candidate failed to challenge claims that President Barack Obama is Muslim and not an American.

Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) took to Twitter after Trump nodded along and mumbled "right" to an event attendee who made erroneous comments about the president's religious affiliation and citizenship.

"We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims," the questioner said. "You know our current president is one. You know he's not even an American."

Trump interrupted the question, chuckling, and said, "We need this question. This is the first question."

Clinton called Trump's failure to refute the comments "disturbing."

Sanders called on Trump to apologize in a tweet Friday morning. 

Sanders went on to tweet, "this nonsense has got to end." 

"Let’s stop the racism. Let’s stop the xenophobia," he added.

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley tweeted at Trump later Friday, writing "'Muslim' is not a slur."  

 

And criticism didn't come only from the left. Fox News host Megyn Kelly asked registered Republican voters what they thought about the interaction, comparing it to a similar exchange in 2008 between then-presidential candidate John McCain and an audience member who called Obama an Arab. In that interaction, McCain took the microphone from the attendee saying "he's not" and calling him a "good man." 

While talking to voters, Kelly affirmed Obama's "not a Muslim," calling the question "objectively ugly." The voters were fairly split, with some saying it was Trump's responsibility as a candidate to handle the question as McCain did, while others still questioned Obama's religious affiliation and said it wasn't Trump's job to clear the air.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), one of Trump's opponents, said in a Friday interview on NBC's "Today" show that Trump had "an obligation" to correct the questioner, and that he would have done so. 

"If somebody said that at one of my town meetings, said something like that, I would correct them and say the president is a Christian and he was born in this country," said Christie.

This post has been updated to include O'Malley's response.

 

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