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Many of you have heard the waves of derision being dumped on Donald Trump following his failure to appropriately “correct” a questioner who had, astonishingly, questioned the nature of President Obama’s religious convictions. The exchange which followed, the first question of what appears to have been Trump’s first town-hall type event, was related as follows in the Huffington Post:
The first man to grab the microphone at an event in Rochester, New Hampshire, said: “We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims. You know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.”
“We need this question? This is the first question?”
The unidentified man in a “Trump” t-shirt continued: “Anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us… That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?” Trump’s rebuttal?
“We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things. You know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening. We’re going to be looking at that and many other things.”
When asked after the event why the property tycoon didn’t correct the questioner, his campaign manager ran to a familiar excuse: He didn’t hear the question.
Beleaguered apologist Corey Lewandowski offered the following mitigation: “All he heard was a question about training camps, which he said we have to look into. The media want to make this an issue about Obama, but it’s about him waging a war on Christianity.”
Well, I was there. In fact I was sitting about 20 feet from the man who asked the question. The distortion of the event by the liberal media (such as in this clip from MSNBC) is revealing. It is also rather sad.
But first, let me tell you what happened.
The man stood up and for about five seconds, before actually saying anything, he swayed and gesticulated erratically. Then, he sputtered out his question in a barely coherent fashion as can be made out on the MSNBC tape. As soon as he stood up I felt – and I suspect most of the rest of the audience felt – uh-oh, this guy has a couple of screws loose.
Trump was (again as the MSNBC tape makes clear) surprised and a bit amused by the question and tried to make a joke out of it initially. “This is the first question,” he said with a wry smile and a laugh. What he did next was to basically pacify the guy and say something bland like: “a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying bad things are happening … we’re going to be looking at that and a lot of other things.”
In other words: next question!
It was clear to everyone there that all Trump was doing was trying to get past this seemingly troubled individual (assuming, of course, that he wasn’t planted there by people who were setting this up). Suppose Trump did start engaging and challenging the guy? First, the guy came across as unstable and might have blown up. Even if he didn’t explode, he probably would have pontificated even more about his demons. There was simply nothing to be gained – and time to be lost – by arguing with a man who by all appearances was a kook. Trump didn’t need it and neither did anyone else who had come to see him.
As for Lewandowski saying that Trump had not heard the question, I suspect that even before the guy opened his mouth Trump was no longer paying any attention to what he was saying. (“Oops. Got a live one here…”)
If this was not, in fact, a set-up for a media storm by the left (or similarly, the GOP establishment) then it was just the little jewel our left-wing media had come to extract from a Trump event. And it shows how pathetic they are. In the course of a free-flowing Q&A that went on for at least a half hour, the most damaging thing they could come up with was this one, unbalanced guy. And Trump’s sin? He did not pull a John McCain moment by dressing down the questioner.
They are desperate.