Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump drew heat in September when he failed to correct a rally-goer who incorrectly labeled President Barack Obama a Muslim.
Several months and many controversies later, Trump, who continues to dominate national polls with less than a month to go before the first votes are cast, took a different tact.
During a rally speech in Claremont, New Hampshire Tuesday night, Trump was criticizing the country’s leaders. Either they’re dishonest, not smart, incompetent, Trump said, “or they have some other agenda that we don’t even know about.”
“They’re Muslims!” shouted a man in the crowd, loud enough for Trump to hear.
“I didn’t say it,” Trump responded, before playfully taking a dig at the press.
“Oh, I’m supposed to reprimand the man. Who is the man that said that? I have to reprimand him. How dare you?” he said. “Now the press can’t be angry.”
He used the same tactic later while criticizing Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton’s campaign schedule.
“She goes to an event and then you don’t see her for another week!” he complained.
She’s “in the bathroom!” someone in the crowd yelled. It was a reference to Clinton returning late to the debate stage following a bathroom break — a situation Trump had previously labeled “disgusting.”
“That’s terrible, terrible. You should never say that,” Trump responded.
“They said she’s in the bathroom. That’s a terrible thing. I’m admonishing you for the press. You’re admonished!” he said playfully. “We should throw him the hell out here. Get out of here … It’s all in good fun.”
Trump ended the event by taking questions shouted from the audience packed into the Stevens High School gymnasium.
The first came from a man on the balcony who asked whether Trump would support what he described as lowering military standards to allow women to serve in infantry roles.
In December, Defense Secretary Ash Carter ordered the military to open all military jobs to women, removing the final barriers that kept women from serving in combat, including the most dangerous posts.
Trump, apparently stumped by the question, said there is “a tremendous amount of turmoil” in the military over the issue and proceeded to poll the audience.
“How many people in here like seeing women in the military, in infantry, fighting?” he asked. “How many people think that women should not be in the military, in an infantry way?”
“It’s a little bit of a mix. And a lot of people are undecided,” he concluded.
After diverting to a question about whether he supports equal pay for women — “I do. I love equal pay …. I mean, I have many women – I was very, very far advanced on women,” he said, referring to hiring women for high positions in his company— he said he’d have to weigh the issue.
“We’re going to come up with the right answer,” he said.
Trump was also asked about voter fraud and said the voting system is “out of control.”