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Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump said Sunday that there is a “very severe problem” with some Muslims, and declined to say whether he’d support a Muslim president of the United States.
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Trump said that he feels “strongly that Muslims are excellent. I know so many Muslims that are such fabulous people.
But he continued,“We can be politically correct and say there is no problem whatsoever, but the fact is, there is a problem with some and it’s a very severe problem and it’s a problem that’s taking place all over the world.”
Asked by host Chuck Todd whether he’d support a Muslim president, Trump dodged. “Would I be comfortable? I don’t know if we have to address it right now. Some people have said it already happened,” he said.
The comments are sure to further inflame controversy sparked by Trump last week when he declined to correct a questioner at a New Hampshire town hall who denounced Muslims as a "problem" in the U.S. and asserted both the President follows the religion and wasn't born in the U.S.
The questioner asked, "When can we get rid of [Muslims]?" and Trump replied, "We are going to be looking at that and plenty of other things." After the event his staff issued three different statements clarifying his response.
On Sunday, Trump acknowledged that President Obama has said he’s a Christian, and added “I’m willing to take him at his word on that. I have no problem with that.”But Trump was less willing to budge on his skepticism of President Obama’s citizenship.
Trump has questioned whether the president was born in the U.S. for years, holding an infamous 2011 press conference calling for the president to release his long-form birth certificate to prove his citizenship. The real-estate mogul has repeatedly declined to disavow the “birtherism” conspiracy, and again refused to do so on Sunday.
“I just don’t want to discuss it,” he said, rattling a list of other issues he’d rather talk about: Jobs, the military, veterans.
“The other’s a long, complex subject and I just don’t like talking about it,” Trump added, referring to President Obama’s citizenship.