Trump calls Obama ‘founder of ISIS’ with Clinton as 'co-founder'
The GOP nominee’s description of Obama and Clinton as having founded Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) is not new. However, Trump has doubled down on his attacks as the election nears, blaming the foreign policy of the former secretary of state for the mess in Iraq and Syria.
At the Wednesday rally in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Trump said that IS “in many respects” honors Obama.
“He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder. He founded ISIS," Trump told the raucous crowd of supporters, adding, "I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.”
At a Tuesday event in North Carolina, Trump said that Clinton should get an award from the terror group for facilitating their rise.
"If they gave a trophy for most valuable player, the winner of the trophy for ISIS would probably have to be Hillary Clinton," he said.
Trump followed up on the "founder of ISIS" remark during an interview with radio host Hugh Hewitt Thursday morning.
“Last night, you said the president was the founder of ISIS. I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace," Hewitt said.
“No, I meant he's the founder of ISIS. I do," Trump replied. "He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give it to her, too, by the way – Hillary Clinton."
Hewitt disagreed, arguing that Obama isn’t sympathetic to Islamic State because he is “trying to kill them."
“I don't care," Trump answered. “He was the founder.”
Trump’s comments about the rise of IS may be based in the remarks of Michael T. Flynn, the former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) who has become a Trump surrogate. The retired Army lieutenant general said in an interview with Al Jazeera last year that the Obama administration "turned a blind eye” to a DIA report that predicted “an undeclared Salafist principality rising in eastern Syria” that might aid US efforts to depose the government in Damascus.
“I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision,” to allow the rise of such an entity, Flynn said.
The “founder of ISIS” comments come after the billionaire businessman caught flak from the media for a statement about the Second Amendment made at the Tuesday rally.
"Hillary wants to abolish – essentially abolish the Second Amendment. By the way, if she gets to pick, if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don't know," Trump said.
Dozens of Democrats and critics in the media immediately claimed that Trump was calling for people to assassinate Clinton. Others, however, pointed out that then-Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) made similar comments in 2008 that did not receive the same treatment from the media.
Trump later clarified that he was referring to the political power that gun owners are able to exert, and criticized the media for misrepresenting him.