During a recent town hall event, leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump declined to correct a participant who falsely claimed President Obama is a Muslim. While reporters have questioned why Trump didn't challenge the questioner's assertions, Trump himself previously speculated on Fox News that Obama might be hiding his birth certificate because it could show “he is a Muslim.” Fox News repeatedly pushed the myth that President Obama lacks a valid American birth certificate and questioned his religion.
Trump Did Not Correct Questioner's False Claim That Obama Is A Muslim
Trump Questioner: “We Have A Problem In This Country. It's Called Muslims. We Know Our Current President Is One.” During a September 17 town hall rally, a questioner told Trump: “We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims. We know our current president is one -- you know he's not even an American. Birth certificates, man.” [The Hill, 9/17/15]
CNN: “Reporters Asked Trump Why He Didn't Challenge The Questioner's Assertions. Trump Did Not Answer.” CNN noted that Trump “did not correct the questioner about his claims about Obama before moving on to another audience member.” Following the event, “several reporters asked Trump why he didn't challenge the questioner's assertions. Trump did not answer. But Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager, later told CNN that the candidate did not hear the question about Obama being a Muslim.”
After the event, several reporters asked Trump why he didn't challenge the questioner's assertions. Trump did not answer.
But Corey Lewandowski, Trump's campaign manager, later told CNN that the candidate did not hear the question about Obama being a Muslim.
“All he heard was a question about training camps, which he said we have to look into,” Lewandowski said. “The media want to make this an issue about Obama, but it's about him waging a war on Christianity.” [CNN.com, 9/18/15]
On Fox, Trump Himself Speculated Obama “Is A Muslim”
Trump On Fox News: Obama Might Not Want His Birth Certificate Released Because “Maybe It Says He Is A Muslim.” During a March 30, 2011, appearance on Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, Trump said that Obama “doesn't have a birth certificate. He may have one but there's something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want that.”
TRUMP: Because if you are going to be president of the United States you have to be born in this country. And there is a doubt as to whether or not he was born...
O'REILLY: Oh come on. Do you really feel this about him?
TRUMP: You know, I started off by saying -- and I always do and I did on the “The View.” I'm a very smart guy. I went to the best college. I had good marks. I was a very smart guy, good student and all that stuff. Because what they do to the birthers, which is a term I hate because a lot of these birthers are just really quality people that just want the truth. What they do to the birthers is unbelievable to a point where people are afraid to talk about this subject. They are afraid to confront you or anybody about this subject.
O'REILLY: Do you think it's an important subject?
TRUMP: Listen, I have a birth certificate. I have my birth certificate. And in fact, they said the one I gave yesterday wasn't good enough. So I actually got the one from the Health Department, which is the perfect one. Because they were saying the one I gave yesterday wasn't good enough, so I got the other. People have birth certificates. He doesn't have a birth certificate. He may have one but there's something on that, maybe religion, maybe it says he is a Muslim. I don't know. Maybe he doesn't want that. Or he may not have one. But I will tell you this. If he wasn't born in this country, it's one of the great scams of all time.
O'REILLY: Absolutely. But I don't think that's the case.
TRUMP: You don't, but I'm starting to think.
O'REILLY: I don't think you believe that either. I think it's provocative, you get a lot of attention raising the question. But I don't think you believe it either. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 3/30/11]
Fox Nation Promoted Trump's Claim That Obama May Be A Muslim. Fox Nation promoted Trump's claim that Obama may be a Muslim:
[Fox Nation, 3/30/11]
Myths About Obama's Faith And Citizenship Were Encouraged By Fox
Fox News Repeatedly Pushed Birther Myths About Obama. Following Trump's embrace of birther theories in 2011, the network significantly ramped up its coverage of birther conspiracies. In the vast majority of the cases, the hosts either espoused birther conspiracies or did not challenge or correct false claims about Obama's birth that aired on their shows. [Media Matters, 4/27/11]
Fox Also Repeatedly Questioned Obama's Faith, Fueling The Myth. A June 2009 Special Report segment asked about Obama, “Islam Or Isn't He?” Multiple Fox contributors also claimed Obama had a “Muslim upbringing,” and Fox & Friends pushed the false claim that Obama attended a “madrassa.” [Media Matters, 3/20/12]