Much of the mainstream media have had to face the inconvenient news today that, yep, Donald Trump’s racist birther beliefs are alive and well. Inconvenient because, although the MSM has given Trump’s presidential campaign extraordinary amounts of coverage, they’ve largely forgotten—willfully or not—that in his view Barack Obama is some kind of Kenyan-born Muslim. “Oh, that birther thing—that’s old news,” they figure. “We can’t take our eyes off the new, winner Trump.”
But thanks, benighted guy, whoever you are, for bringing Donald’s recent past up to date, by asking at a town-hall meeting last night: “We have a problem in this country, it’s called Muslims. We know our current president is one. You know, he’s not even an American. Birth certificate, man.”
“Right,” Trump mumbled, then went for a laugh: “We need this question? This first question?”
“But anyway,” the man added, “we have training camps… where they want to kill us.”
“Uh huh,” Trump said.
“That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?” the man said.
Trump never corrected the guy by stating that president is an American and a Christian. But he did go on to throw it all into a pot of “things” said by “a lot of people.” “We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things, a lot of people are saying bad things are happening. We’re going to be looking at that and plenty of other things.” Watch him here:
OK, give him a huge benefit of the doubt: Maybe he didn’t quite understand or hear the question. But then a second man rose up and said, “I applaud the gentleman who stood and said Obama is a Muslim born abroad and about the military camps, everyone knows that.”
“Right,” Trump said, and then moved to another questioner.
As social media went nuts, the Trump campaign responded with a cowardly dodge: “The media wants to make this issue about Obama. The bigger issue is that Obama is waging war against Christians in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake.”
Today the corporate media are finally covering Trump’s lies, with Fox News predictably defending their brother in birtherism. On Stuart Varney’s show this morning, radio host Tammy Bruce said no Republican is obliged to defend Barack Obama, and “I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a plant.”
Until last night, Trump has successfully built a great big wall to keep his ugly birther narrative from crossing into his current presidential run. His candidacy now turns on his racist immigrant-bashing. It’s not that the press has completely forgotten the birther storm, which peaked in 2011; they have brought it up occasionally since he began running this summer. But, led down various rabbit holes by the accomplished deal-maker, they only push so far.