In a CBS Evening News preview clip of an interview set to air on Sunday’s 60 Minutes, anchor Scott Pelley spared with 2016 Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump over his failure to correct a man who attended a Trump rally and accused the President of being Muslim. Pelley lectured Trump that “[i]t was a testing moment” for him which he failed: “You let that pass, and I wonder what that tells us about you.”
When Trump tried to wiggle out of the question by maintaining the man had a much broader point and “went on to say other things,” Pelley cut him off and asked again about the Trump supporter’s part in “the bigotry” of Muslims. Trump then responded:
Look, he said mostly about Obama, that whole question was about – I don't have to defend President Obama. He's not going to defend me. So whether you agree with the man or don't agree – and there were people in that audience, as you probably noticed, that did agree with him.
The conversation immediately escalated when Pelley admitted that the situation represented “a testing moment for a man running for president” where “[y]ou never know when” situations like this one are “coming”:
PELLEY: It was a testing moment for a man running for president.
TRUMP: I don't think so.
PELLEY: You never know when they’re coming.
TRUMP: I don’t think so.
PELLEY: But here you had a bigot–
TRUMP: You don't know that.
PELLEY: – that you could have slapped down.
TRUMP: You don’t know that. I mean, he asked a question. You don't know he's a bigot, but look–
PELLEY: “A problem in this country and it's Muslims.”
Pressed into providing a longer answer, Trump declared that he “love[s] the Muslims” with “many, many friends [and] people living in this building”:
Well, let me ask you this. So, he said, “there are problems in this country and it's Muslims.” I love the Muslims. I have many, many friends, people living in this building, Muslims, they're phenomenal people, but like everything else, you have people where there are problems. Now, we can say there are no problems with the Muslims. There’s no problem. There is no terrorism. There isn't anything. They didn't knock down the World Trade Center. To the best of my knowledge, the people that knocked down the World Trade Center – you know where they – they didn't fly back to Sweden.