During his speech Sunday, President Obama again made the point that the fight against ISIS is not a war against Islam.
"Muslim-Americans are our friends and our neighbors, our co-workers, our sports heroes," Obama said.
Donald Trump questioned this premise:
Obama said in his speech that Muslims are our sports heroes. What sport is he talking about, and who? Is Obama profiling?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 7, 2015
Trump is a big sports fan, so it's hard to imagine that he is unaware of stars such as Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon. But part of Trump's success in establishing and maintaining his top spot in the polls among Republican candidates is being an unapologetic troll. He seems to be a big believer that there's no such thing as bad publicity, and for the moment anyway, he has the poll numbers to back him up.
Many media outlets, including the Washington Post, responded by listing prominent American athletes who are Muslim. Ali is usually the first one mentioned. Perhaps these responses, calling out Trump for his apparent ignorance, played right into his hands: More media attention for the front-runner means less for his competition. Pretty cagey.
Given the context of Trump's tweet, it is worth noting that Ali received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, from Republican president George W. Bush in 2005.
"The real mystery, I guess, is how he stayed so pretty," Bush said during his presentation to Ali. "Probably had to do with his beautiful soul."
After Bush placed the medal around Ali's neck, the president shook his hand and hugged him. Then Bush raised his fists in a boxing stance. Check out the champ's classic response:
For further proof that Trump's tweet was simply a case of him effectively playing his role, much like a heel in pro wrestling, consider that he posted this photo on Instagram in May:
Trump's candidacy has resonated with many voters because he isn't the typical politician. But this Instagram post also shows he can photo-opp just as well as any of them when he needs to.