Donald Trump Isn't Sure if Being Anti-Muslim Is Necessarily Being a Bigot
Donald Trump was not off-base to smile and nod along with a question describing President Obama as a Muslim and the man asking the question may not have been a bigot, if you ask Donald Trump. A CBS interviewer asked Trump about the now-notorious exchange with a New Hampshire supporter who, along the way to asking what Trump would do about Muslims and their alleged training camps, characterized Obama as not only Muslim but "not even an American," Trump never batting an eye.
Unsurprisingly, Trump disagreed with every possible criticism of his positive response to the question, insisting that "I don't have to defend President Obama" (or, apparently, reality) and pointing out that "there were people in that audience, as you probably noticed, that did agree with him." Then interviewer Scott Pelley got to the bigot question:
"You don't know that. I mean, he asked a question. You don't know that he was a bigot," Trump said.
Pelley reminded Trump that the man said that Muslims are "a problem in this country."
"All right. I love the Muslims. I have many, many friends -- people living in this building, Muslims. They're phenomenal people. But like everything else you have people where there are problems," Trump said in response.
"Now we could say there are no problems with the Muslims. There's no problems. There's no terrorism," Trump continued. "They didn't knock down the World Trade Center. To the best of my knowledge the people that knocked down the World Trade Center -- you know where they're -- they didn't fly back to Sweden."
Well ... they didn't actually fly back anywhere after, you know, crashing planes into buildings.
Oh, it's hopeless. We can talk till the cows come home about white-dude domestic terrorism a la Timothy McVeigh or Eric Rudolph or Dylann Roof and you'll never get a Donald Trump figure saying "They're phenomenal people. But like everything else you have people where there are problems." Because bigotry. Bigotry to defend bigotry while denying the original bigotry was in fact bigotry. And backing the whole thing up by saying that other people in the audience—an audience composed of people on the same general ideological wavelength—agreed. Welcome to Donald Trump's America, folks.