Donald Trump attacked President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton by describing them as the co-founders of the terrorist organization ISIS in a speech to the National Association of Home Builders in Miami, Florida on Aug. 11.
The statement doubles down on an assertion he made at a Florida rally on Aug. 10 in a radio interview with conservative radio news host Hugh Hewitt, and in a phone interview with CNBC’s The Squawk Box on Thursday.
“He was the founder of ISIS, absolutely,” Trump said when asked by CNBC anchor Scott Wapner whether it was appropriate to call the president the founder of a terrorist organization.
The candidate is referring to the removal of troops from Iraq by the Obama administration after years of crisis following the invasion by American-led forces and the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
“I would not have been in Iraq if I were president. That was a horrible mistake. One of the worst mistakes in the history of our country, we destabilized the Middle East. We’ve been paying the price for it for years. But he was the founder, absolutely the founder,” said Trump.
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
Trump also said that he believes that former secretary of state Hillary Clinton is the “co-founder” of ISIS.
“I gave her co-founder if you really looked at this speech. I think you probably did. But he and Hillary get the most valuable player award having to do with Iraq and having to do with the ISIS situation.”
Trump seemed confused at the silent response by the anchors on The Squawk.
“Is there something wrong with saying that? Are people complaining that I said he was the founder of ISIS?” Trump said. “Look, all I do is tell the truth. I’m a truth teller. All I do is tell the truth.”
Trump then went on to explain the difference between calling the terrorist organization ISIS and ISIL, attacked Clinton over her 33,000 missing emails, her policies in Libya, saying that if Obama “had to do it again, he would never have chosen Hillary Clinton to be secretary of state.”
In the radio interview, conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt pressed Trump on his main point, asking if by “founders” he meant to refer to the vacuum created by the troop withdrawal by the Obama administration.
HH: I’ve got two more questions. 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.
Trump, however, kept to his statement.
DT: No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.
HH: But he’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.
DT: I don’t care. He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay?
This is not the first time that Trump has connected Obama and Clinton to ISIS.
In June, he said in a telephone interview with Fox News that the president, in reference to the threat from ISIS, either “doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands.”