Donald Trump is not backing down from claims that ISIS was founded by Obama. What do you think about his comments?
Donald Trump insisted Thursday morning that he was right to call President Barack Obama ‘the founder of ISIS,’ calling himself ‘a truth-teller’ who will just take ‘a very, very nice long vacation’ if he loses the November election to Hillary Clinton.
‘He was the founder of ISIS, absolutely,’ Trump said in a half-hour-long phone interview with CNBC, citing ‘the way he removed our troops’ from Iraq in 2011: ‘He shouldn’t have gotten out the way he got out. It was a disaster what he did.’
Trump, asked if calling Pres. Obama the "founder of ISIS" is appropriate: "He is the founder of ISIS, absolutely." pic.twitter.com/VrtkDhvIgz
— CNBC (@CNBC) August 11, 2016
‘We destabilized the Middle East. We’ve been paying the price for it for years,’ the Republican presidential nominee said, doubling down on his stunning claim Wednesday night at a rally in Sunshine, Florida.
‘He was the founder, absolutely the founder.’
‘In fact he gets the – in sports they have awards – he gets the Most Valuable Player award, him and Hillary. I mean, she gets it too. I gave them “co-founder,” if you really looked at the speech.’
Trump seemed unaware of the storm of controversy his new claim generated overnight.
‘Why? Is there something wrong with saying that?’ he asked the financial news network’s hosts. ‘Why? are people complaining that I said he was the founder of ISIS?’
‘I’m a truth-teller,’ he added. ‘All I do is tell the truth, and if at the end of 90 days I’ve fallen short … it’s okay. You know, I go back to a very good way of life. It’s not what I’m looking to do. I think we’re going to have a victory, but we’ll see.’
Middle East scholars generally agree that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi – during the George W. Bush administration – founded the group that would later morph into ISIS.
But Trump continued his unconventional attack in a radio interview with Hugh Hewitt on Thursday.
When Hewitt gave him an opportunity to clarify that ‘founding’ ISIS consisted of creating the conditions in which the terror group could grab a Middle East foothold, the candidate refused to walk through the escape hatch.
‘Last night you said that the president was the “founder” of ISIS,’ Hewitt said. ‘I know what you meant: You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.’
‘No,’ Trump insisted. ‘I meant that he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player – I gave him the Most Valuable Player award. I give her [Clinton] too, by the way.’
Hewitt countered with evidence that the president is spending blood and treasure to defeat the group he supposedly created.
‘He’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them,’ the host said. ‘He’s trying to kill them.
‘He was the founder,’ Trump repeated. ‘It’s the way he got out of Iraq that was the founding of ISIS.’
Later Thursday morning in Miami Beach, Trump spoke to the National Association of Home Builders and said the U.S. has ‘less power today in Iraq than the woman sitting in the front row – who’s never been to Iraq.’
‘Our government isn’t giving us good protection. Our government unleashed ISIS,’ he jabbed. ‘I call President Obama and Hillary Clinton the founders of ISIS. They’re the founders.’
‘In fact I think we’ll give Hillary Clinton the – you know, if you’re a sports team – Most Valuable Player, MVP, you get the MVP award – ISIS will hand her the Most Valuable Player award. Her only competition is Barack Obama.’
Clinton’s campaign said in a statement late Thursday morning that Trump has an ‘aversion to the truth’ and is merely mimicking Russian President Vladimir Putin when he makes such claims.