During a disastrous interview on ABC’s This Week, George Stephanopoulos hammered Trump with questions about his birther views after the Republican frontrunner refused to say that President Obama was born in the US and is not a Muslim.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s get into this controversy that’s come up over the last couple of days. I saw your Tweets yesterday where you say you didn’t have a moral responsibility when that questioner got up and said those things about President Obama. But this is getting a lot of attention, in part because you’ve raised questions like this in the past.
So for the record, was President Obama born in the United States?
TRUMP: Well, you know, I don’t get into it, George. I think about jobs. I’m talking about the military. I don’t get into it. I mean they ask that question and I just want to talk about the things, because frankly, it’s of no longer interest to me. We’re beyond that. And it’s just something I don’t talk about.
I want to talk about the military. I want to talk about the vets and how badly they’re treated. I want to talk about jobs. I don’t get it that, George.
STEPHANOPOULOS: Well, the way to get beyond it is to answer yes or no.
Do you believe this…
TRUMP: Well, that’s — that’s possible, but I don’t get into it and I just don’t talk about it.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So — and even though you’ve raised questions and you’ve investigated this in the past, you’re still…
TRUMP: Well, you know, people thought I should have defended. Some people thought I should have defended the president in terms of the question that was asked the other night.
And my attitude is would he have done that for me, if somebody said that about me?
And, you know, he’s been — he could — he’s very capable of defending himself, believe me.
So we’ll see what happens. But I think the Tweets really covered it very well and very accurately. Somebody said they were excellent, they covered the subject.
And I actually — it was very interesting because I got in hot water over not saying anything. The first time it’s ever happened to me.
STEPHANOPOULOS: I get…
TRUMP: I didn’t say anything and everybody was going crazy over the weekend. And this is something where I didn’t even say anything.
STEPHANOPOULOS: But I take that point. But 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: — President 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.
Stephanopoulos wasn’t biased. He didn’t practice “gotcha journalism.” He asked Donald Trump a question about a position that he has publicly held for years. When Trump refused to answer the question, Stephanopoulos kept pushing Trump for an answer. The cumulative impact of this exchange was that Donald Trump’s self-created political outsider image was pulverized.
Trump sounded just like every other politician while he was dodging a question that he did not want to answer. What the latest Trump birther controversy is doing is placing the racism of Republican voters front and center for the rest of the country to see.
The political dilemma that Donald Trump faces is that he can’t tell the truth about Obama’s place of birth and religion because doing so would cost him his spot atop the Republican field. The people who are supporting Trump like him because of his racism and bigotry towards the President Of The United States and Hispanics.
The issue that will ruin Trump has always been right in front of everyone’s eyes. Even if he wins the Republican nomination, Donald Trump’s racist birther views will be the key to his demise.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association