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Since the night it happened, I had been wanting to speak with Donald Trump about his response to the man who claimed the President was a Muslim and who said Muslims were a problem in this country and asked when we can get rid of them.

Last night on my show CNN Tonight I had the chance.

I told them directly that I thought he could have handled it differently.


Lemon- “If something like that comes up again, would you handle it differently?

Trump – “I don’t think so, no.  I don’t think so.”

Trump was heading back to New Hampshire for a town hall meeting for the first time since that incident happened.

Trump told me it was not his business to defend President Obama.

I told him it was not a question of defending the President but more of defending the truth.

And then I asked if he, himself thought Muslims were a problem.

Trump – “By the way most Muslims, I know many, are great people just so you put it on the record.

Lemon – “Do you think Muslim’s are a problem?

Trump – “Well I think a certain segment certainly are a problem unless you want me to be so politically correct.  You want me to say, oh absolutely not.  I mean you have ISIS, you have migration, you have all of this stuff, you have.  You know a lot of people think you’re gonna end up with world war III in the Middle East.  I’ve heard that for 25 years.  When you see beheadings.  I mean we haven’t seen that since medieval times, beheadings.”

He went on to say this:

Trump – “Look, again.  You probably won’t put this part but many people who are Muslim, living in this building here, but it have great friends.  They are phenomenal people and most of them are like that.

Don – “Have they asked you about your comments?  What do you say to them?”

Trump – “By the way, they think we have a bigger problem than we do. Ok, they think we have a bigger problem because there’s a radical, Islamic group of people that is brutal and unless our country gets tough and smart and unless we have the right leadership Don, we’re in big trouble.”

I told Donald Trump that I don’t just hear Conservatives discussing him.

I hear Liberals and even people of color who say they like his candor but are concerned about some of his statements.

The obvious question to me was are you racist?

Trump replied by talking about his appearance at the South Carolina African American Chamber of Commerce last week where the leadership wrote him a note saying it was the best event they ever had and it was sold out.

Trump – “What I’m saying is the press is very, very unfair.  But what does happen and what people are surprised at is in every one of my polls, not just today’s wonderful poll from USA Today, in every single poll, people like you, I think you’re one of them, it’s straight across the board.  I get support from everyone.”

I didn’t get that during the interview, but it sounds like he thinks I’m a supporter.

I think what he means is that I treat him fairly, yet I will confront him when I think he’s wrong – like on the President/Muslim issue.

Don Lemon to Donald Trump, “Are You Racist?”  was originally published on