Mitt Romney wants to have it both ways — he wants to distance himself from Donald Trump’s remarks on President Obama’s birth, but not from Trump himself.
Trump continues to push conspiracy theories about Obama’s birth.
On Tuesday, Trump once again embraced the discredited birther movement by declaring on CNBC that “there are some major questions here that the press doesn’t want to cover.”
“Nothing’s changed my mind,” Trump said, reaffirming his doubts about the president’s Hawaiian birth certificate. “I walk down the street and people are screaming, ‘Please don’t give that up.’”
In response, Romney sought to distance himself from the conspiracy comments while still embracing the man who made the remarks.
“You know, I don’t agree with all the people who support me, and my guess is they don’t all agree with everything I believe in,” Romney said. “But I need to get 50.1 percent or more, and I’m appreciative to have the help of a lot of good people.”
Aides to Romney have said he does not question the president’s birth and accept that Obama was born in the United States.
After all, doubts about the president’s birthplace have been thoroughly discredited by mainstream news organizations and rejected by Democrat and Republican leadership.
But Romney has shown no willingness to distance himself from Trump.
When confronted with a similar situation Senator John McCain corrected extreme comments he encountered at town-hall meetings during the 2008 presidential campaign.
There has been attempt by some to compare Trump’s comments to Bill Maher, the liberal comedian who has called the Mormon religion a “cult” and has given the Obama campaign a million dollars.
The president has distance himself from Maher’s comments and David Axelrod, a senior adviser, canceled an appearance on Maher’s show. Obama has not held a joint fund-raiser with the comedian, unlike Romney.
For the Romney campaign it is clear that his refusal to denounce Trump is about both receiving money from Trump and an unwillingness to alienate those voters who still believe Obama was not born in the U.S. and therefore should not be president
What is also clear that once again Romney who has shown a history of flip flopping on major social issues to gain the support of conservatives has failed once again another test of character and leadership in his unwillingness to strongly denounce extremism.