"People who hold these offensive views are part of Mr. Trump's base," said Josh Earnest. "Mr. Trump himself would be the first to tell you that he's got the biggest base of any Republican politician these days. Now it is too bad that he wasn't able to summon the same kind of patriotism that we saw from Senator McCain, who responded much more effectively and directly when one of his supporters at one of his campaign events made the same kind of false claims.You may not have noticed, son, but it was Republicans who took down the Confederate flag across the South. They didn't rush to defend it. They fell all over themselves for the chance to pull it down.
Now what is also unfortunate is that Mr. Trump isn't the first Republican politician to countenance these kinds of views in order to win votes. In fact, that is precisely what every Republican presidential candidate is doing when they decline to denounce Mr. Trump's cynical strategy, because they are looking for those same votes.
Now other Republicans have successfully used this strategy as well. You will recall that one Republican congressman told a reporter that he was David Duke without the baggage. That congressman was elected by a majority of his colleagues in the House of Representatives to the third highest-ranking position in the House. Those same members of Congress blocked immigration reform. Those same members of Congress oppose reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. Those same members of Congress couldn't support a simple funding bill because they are eager to defend the confederate flag.
So those are the priorities of today's Republican Party. And they will continue to be until someone in the Republican Party decides to summon the courage to stand up and change it."
It is too bad Josh Earnest wasn't able to summon the same kind of patriotism -- and class -- as Senator McCain. Trump is supposed to take responsibility for what some random guy said about the President. Is President Obama going to take responsibility for what his own Press Secretary said about half the country?
UPDATE: Charles C. W. Cooke points out, quite rightly, that both the 'Birther' and the 'Secret Muslim' themes started with Clinton in 2008. The 'Secret Muslim' thing tracked to her campaign directly, whereas the 'Birther' thing was allegedly some of her "diehard supporters." What I have heard is that it was her oppo research team running an astroturf campaign, but OK, let's grant that there is a chance she might have had some 'diehard supporters' in 2008.