When a man at a Donald Trump rally in New Hampshire last night declared that President Obama is a Muslim, it brought back memories of Lakeville, Minn., 2008.
“We have a problem in this country. It’s called Muslims,” said the man whom Trump called on to ask a question. “We know our current president is one. You know he’s not even an American.”
That’s certainly an opportunity for a serious presidential contender to not look quite as off-the-wall as his followers. But Trump declined to inject reality, normalcy, and legitimacy into the moment.
“We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things,” Trump responded. “And you know, a lot of people are saying that, and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening out there. We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.”
What might have been a more intelligent response?
Let’s hit the NewsCut Wayback Machine:
Another McCain response resonates today. It was the one he delivered on the Senate floor after former Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann fanned the hate by asserting the Obama administration had been infiltrated by the Muslim Brotherhood because a high-ranking woman in the State Department is of Arab descent.
“This is about who we are as a nation and who we still aspire to be. What makes America exceptional among the countries of the world is that we are bound together as citizens not by blood or class, not by sect or ethnicity, but by a set of enduring, universal and equal rights that are the foundation of our constitution, our laws, our citizenry, and our identity. When anyone, not least a member of Congress, launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are and ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation, and we all grow poorer because of it.”
Trump’s moment also recalled Gov. Chris Christie’s 2011 smackdown of criticism after he appointed a Muslim man to the New Jersey Supreme Court.
“I’m tired of dealing with the crazies,” he said.