Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee declined Friday to condemn Donald Trump for his handling of an anti-Muslim questioner, but he said he would have stepped in with a correction.
“If I’d of understood what the person said, I would have said look, ‘There’s no evidence whatsoever that Barack Obama is anything other than what he professes to be, which is a Christian. I take him at his word for that,” Huckabee told reporters before a lunchtime address to the California Republican Convention in Anaheim. “Let’s not attribute a religion to someone who (does) not embrace it as their own.”
However, Huckabee added, “I don’t know what Donald Trump heard,” saying comments at town hall events often are muffled.
Trump has come under fire since a questioner at a Rochester, New Hampshire, event Thursday incorrectly said President Barack is Muslim, and also is not an American. The question recalled Trump’s quest for Obama’s birth certificate before entering he race.
“You know our current president is one,” the man, wearing a Trump T-shirt, said. “You know he’s not even an American.”
Trump interrupted: “We need this question. This is the first question.”
And the man continued: “Anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us,” he said. “That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”
Trump did not offer a correction. “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things,” he said.
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest took Trump and the rest of the Republican presidential field to task, telling reporters, “Mr. Trump himself would be the first to tell you he’s got the biggest base of any Republican politician these days.”
“Now, it is too bad that he wasn’t able to summon the same kind of patriotism that we saw from Sen. McCain, who responded much more effectively and directly when one of his supporters at one of his campaign events about seven years ago raised the same kind of false claims,” Earnest said.