Despite George Stephanopoulos’ best effort to press Donald Trump on the Republican front-runner’s true thoughts about President Obama’s birth and religion, the answers came off more as political dodges than the famous straight talk for which the GOP front-runner is famous.
On ABC’s This Week today, Stephanopoulos asked Trump: “You’ve raised these questions so often in the past, why can’t you just say definitively yes or no?”
Trump: “Well, I haven’t raised the question.”
Stephanopoulos: “Obama was born in the United States. You’ve raised it many times. And he’s not a Muslim.”
Trump: “George, you have raised the question. I haven’t raised the question. I don’t talk about it and I don’t like talking about somebody else’s faith. He talks about his faith and he can do that. But I don’t talk about other people’s faith. It’s not appropriate for me to talk about somebody else’s faith.”
The interview follows an exchange Trump had at a rally last week in Iowa with a supporter who insisted that the president is a Muslim. Trump — who has long stoked the so-called “birther movement” — failed to correct the misconception and appeared instead to lend it credence.
Later, on his Twitter feed, Trump doubled down and refused to apologize for not calling out the man’s error.
Trump’s latest comments come as a new CNN/ORC poll out today reveals waning support for the real estate mogul-turned politician. While he remains in first place, with 24 percent of Republicans saying they would vote for him, that’s down from an earlier poll that put him at 32 percent. Meanwhile, fellow candidate and former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina has seen her numbers jump to 15 percent, launching her into second place after a strong performance in the second televised debate last week.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Trump said he feels “strongly that Muslims are excellent. I know so many Muslims that are such fabulous people.”
“We can be politically correct and say there is no problem whatsoever, but the fact is, there is a problem with some and it’s a very severe problem and it’s a problem that’s taking place all over the world,” he told host Chuck Todd.
Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, also near the front of the pack of GOP candidates, told Meet the Press he ‘would not advocate’ a Muslim president:
Todd asked Trump how he felt, but the candidate sidestepped the question: “Would I be comfortable? I don’t know if we have to address it right now. Some people have said it already happened,” he said.