Urbandale (Iowa): A day after sparking outrage for failing to condemn a call to purge the US of Muslims and claims that President Barack Obama is not an American, US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump said Muslims are 'no threat' to the United States and they are actually great people.
"I love the Muslims. I think they're great people", the Republican presidential front-runner said while talking to CNN after addressing high school students here at their homecoming Saturday night.
One student told Trump that she considered Muslim-Americans to be an important segment of the country. They asked whether the billionaire businessman would consider putting a Muslim in his Cabinet or on his ticket.
"Oh, absolutely," Trump responded. "No problem with that."
The controversial Republican presidential candidate raised eyebrows when confronted with an outspoken questioner at the start of a town hall rally in New Hampshire, according to The Independent.
As questions from the audience got underway, a man stood up and told the billionaire: “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.”
Interjecting, Trump said, “We need this question. This is the first question”, before the audience member continued.
The man said: “But, anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us. That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?”
Trump's response sparked outrage and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had condemned his response to the questioner.
“Donald Trump not denouncing false statements about POTUS [President of the US] and hateful rhetoric about Muslims is disturbing and just plain wrong. Cut it out", she tweeted.
Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz also criticised Trump branding him a racist, according to CNN.
“GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s racism knows no bounds,” she said.
“This is certainly horrendous, but unfortunately unsurprising given what we have seen already.”
Under fire from critics for the interaction, Trump sent out a series of tweets Saturday, defending why he chose not to correct the supporter.
"Am I morally obligated to defend the president every time somebody says something bad or controversial about him? I don't think so!" Trump wrote.
In another tweet, he said: "If I would have challenged the man, the media would have accused me of interfering with that man's right of free speech. A no win situation!"