Donald Trump responded to pundits and critics who accused him of furthering the notion that President Barack Obama is a Muslim, and not an American, Saturday. The reality TV star and real estate mogul, who remained atop many GOP presidential polls, took to Twitter in typical Trump fashion for his response.
Trump asked his 4.21 million followers the seemingly rhetorical question of whether he is morally obligated to defend the president every time someone says something bad about him. He then answered the question: "I don't think so!"
Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don't think so!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2015
But it didn't end there. Trump continued posting Saturday morning with a series of tweets dedicated to the issue. "If someone made a nasty or controversial statement about me to the president, do you really think he would come to my rescue? No chance!" he said in one message, which was retweeted more than 700 times within minutes.
"Christians need support in our country (and around the world), their religious liberty is at stake! Obama has been horrible, I will be great," Trump added.
The boisterous businessman faced criticism for a question during a post-debate rally Thursday that came from a supporter who said that Obama is a Muslim and "not even a real American."
"We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims," the unidentified man said, according to a CNN report. "You know our current president is one. You know he's not even an American." Trump appeared surprised and interrupted the man. "We need this question? This is the first question?" Trump asked, but he did not correct the man to say that Obama is a Christian or born in the United States. The unidentified man then continued to ask Trump what could be done to curb the growth of extremist training camps.
Trump is one of the loudest and most high-profile of the so-called Birthers, the group that alleges Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore ineligible to be president. The president released his long-form birth certificate in August 2011, saying he "believed the distraction over his birth certificate wasn’t good for the country."
Trump celebrated the release, essentially taking credit for compelling the president to "finally" make the document public.
"We do not have time for this kind of silliness," Obama told reporters at the White House at the time. "I've been puzzled at the degree to which this [story] just kept on going."
"Normally I would not comment on something like this," the president said. But the country has "some enormous challenges out there" that it will not be able to effectively meet "if we're distracted," he said.