Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump is under fire in the US for not correcting a man who said Barack Obama is a Muslim.
It happened at one of the billionaire developer’s campaign events.
The White House says the comment is offensive and designed to appeal to conservative voters.
“This is a cynical strategy that too many Republican politicians have dabbled in because, for some of them, it’s proved to be successful, but there are consequences for it,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.
“There are consequences for their ability to govern the country, and there are the consequences at the ballot box too, because I’m confident that voters are paying attention.”
Trump has also come in for criticism from Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton. She says his failure to denounce the comment is “disturbing and plain wrong.”
“He (Trump) knew, or should have known, that what that man was asking was way out of bounds,” said Clinton.
“It was untrue and he should have, from the beginning, repudiated that kind of rhetoric, that level of hatefulness in a questioner in an audience that he was appearing before.”
Trump did not correct the Muslim comment because he had trouble hearing the man,according to his campaign manager.
Trump, who has previously expressed doubts about whether Obama was born in the US, has risen to the top of the field in the Republican race – despite frequent controversies.