Donald Trump has responded to a question from CNN about whether Muslims pose a danger to the country by saying: “I love the Muslims. I think they’re great people.”
The Republican presidential frontrunner was addressing students at a question and answer session at Urbandale High School in Urbandale, Iowa, on Saturday night.
One student asked whether the billionaire businessman would consider putting a Muslim in his cabinet or on his ticket.
“Oh, absolutely,” Trump responded. “No problem with that.”
Trump is continuing to defend his decision not to correct a supporter on Thursday, at a New Hampshire town hall, who stated that Obama was a Muslim and not American and then asking the candidate how he plans to “get rid of” Muslims in US.
The supporter went on to say: “We have a problem in this country — it’s called Muslims.”
Trump said that he was not obligated to defend the president and read a series of tweets he has written to defend his position.
“Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don’t think so!” he tweeted.
Trump argued that he would have faced criticism if he had jumped in.
He recalls an incident during the 2008 campaign when Republican nominee John McCain took the microphone away from a woman who said she didn’t trust Obama because he was an “Arab”.
Trump says that McCain “just ripped that microphone out of the woman’s hand” and describes that as “a little bit harsh”.
Many people, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, were offended that Trump did not explain to the man that Obama is in fact a Christian from Hawaii rather than a Muslim from outside the country.
“Donald Trump not denouncing false statements about POTUS & hateful rhetoric about Muslims is disturbing, & just plain wrong. Cut it out,” she wrote.
The tycoon cancelled his appearance at a big Republican event on Friday. However, his campaign team said he had pulled out because of a “significant business transaction” that needed his attention.
A CNN/ORC poll released yesterday shows Trump remains in first place in the race to win the Republican presidential nomination for 2016, but his support has fallen to 24% from 32% previously. Former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina shot up to second place with 15% from only 3% in early September.
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