Clinton denounces Trump over birther
© YouTube

Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTop Dem: Trump helps GOP erase enthusiasm gap; Ohio a big problem The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump threatens jail time over 'treason' and 'spying' Several factors have hindered 'next up' presidential candidates in recent years MORE on Friday harshly criticized fellow presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpComey: Barr is 'sliming his own department' GOP Mueller critic says Flynn contacted him during special counsel probe: report Acting DHS secretary threatened to quit after clashing with Miller: report MORE’s failure to shoot down a supporter’s claim that President Obama is not American and is a Muslim, saying she found it appalling.

Trump has come under a flurry of criticism from Republicans and Democrats over the issue, and Clinton’s quick entry into the debate signals that she believes it could help her own presidential campaign.

ADVERTISEMENT

“He knew or he should have known that what that man was asking was not only way out of bounds, it was untrue and he should have from the beginning repudiated that kind of rhetoric, that level of hatefulness of a questioner in an audience that he was appearing before,” Clinton said.

Even before speaking to reporters about Trump, Clinton had tweeted about the incident. Her comments could increase the pressure on other Republican candidates to speak out, which in turn could hurt them with the GOP base since they would also be speaking in defense of Obama.

An audience member at a Trump rally Thursday night in New Hampshire told the GOP front-runner: “We have a problem in this country, it's called Muslims.

"You know our current president is one, you know he's not even an American,” the unidentified man said, before asking Trump if he'd get rid of extremist training camps. 

“We're going to be looking at a lot of different things,” Trump answered, ignoring the comments about Obama. “You know, a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening. We're going to be looking at that and many other things.”

Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN that he didn't hear the initial part of the question that focused on Obama's identity.

“All he heard was a question about training camps, which he said we have to look into,” Lewandowski said. “The media want to make this an issue about Obama, but it's about him waging a war on Christianity.”

Trump has since backed out of an appearance at a candidate forum sponsored by the conservative group Heritage Action for America. His campaign said in a statement that he couldn't make it because of a “significant business transaction” that ran past the scheduled close. 

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), two of Trump’s rivals for the GOP presidential nomination, have both criticized his lack of response.

Graham and the White House noted that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), in response to a similar question in 2008, called Obama a “decent person” and corrected a woman who referred to him as an Arab.

Asked if she thinks Trump will apologize, Clinton said that she hoped he will and referred to his low profile since the comments as “a time out.” 

“His taking a time out to think hard about what happened last night, what he did not call out or repudiate at the time, gives him the chance to express his regret about that kind of behavior,” she said Friday. 

Trump has a history of challenging President Obama's religion and place of birth and took credit for Obama releasing his birth certificate in 2011.

During an interview with CNN this summer, Trump said he still didn't know if Obama was born in the U.S.