Real-estate tycoon Donald Trump refused to answer multiple questions about President Barack Obama’s birth certificate on Sunday.
“I just don’t want to discuss it,” the Republican presidential front-runner said on “Meet the Press.”
He listed some topics he would prefer talking about and called the birth-certificate question “a long, complex subject that I just don’t like talking about and I won’t talk about it.”
Host Chuck Todd pressed Trump a second time on the issue but the businessman dodged again, insisting he wanted to talk about things like the economy.
“I just don’t discuss it,” Trump said. “And really it hasn’t been brought up for a long time.”
The exchange follows Trump’s latest campaign-trail controversy: At a Thursday town-hall event, he sparked criticism from his rivals, the White House, and parts of the media by declining to correct a supporter who called Obama a Muslim foreigner.
His campaign initially said he didn’t fully hear the supporter but Trump argued Saturday that he shouldn’t be “morally obligated” to defend Obama.
He repeated that argument during his “Meet the Press” interview.
“So this man got up and he felt very strongly, whoever he was, he felt very, very strongly and very powerfully about something,” Trump recalled. “And whether we all agree with it or not, it wasn’t my obligation to to defend [Obama].”
Trump further said there is a “severe problem” with some Muslims
“I feel strongly that Muslims are excellent. I know so many Muslims that are such fabulous people,” he said. “But there is a problem. I mean, there’s no question about it. And we can be politically correct and we can say there is no problem whatsoever. But the fact is there is a problem with some. And it’s a very severe problem.”
Todd also asked Trump if he would support a Muslim for president. Retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, another leading Republican contender, said on the same program that he “would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation, according to The Associated Press. But Trump seemed unsure.
“I can say that it’s something that at some point could happen. We’ll see. It’s something that could happen. Would I be comfortable? I don’t know if we have to address it right now. But I think it is certainly something that could happen,” Trump said.
Referencing conspiracy theorists who question Obama’s faith, Trump added that “some people have said it already happened, frankly.”
However, he told Todd that he would take Obama “at his word” that he’s a Christian.
Several years ago, Trump was one of the most prominent people challenging the authenticity of Obama’s birth certificate. But since he announced his presidential campaign this year, Trump insists he’s “off that subject.”
“I mean, you’re bringing it up this morning,” he said Sunday. “But I’m into the world of jobs, I’m into the world of military and vets and frankly, I discuss Obamacare because [with] Obamacare, you see what’s happening with the premiums. They’re going through the roof. A lot of problems with Obamacare.”