Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has described US President Barack Obama as the “founder” of the Islamic State group.
“They honour President Obama,” he told a rally in Florida last Wednesday. “He is the founder of Isis [Islamic State],” the BBC quotes Trump as saying.
Mr Trump also attacked his Democratic rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton, calling her a “co-founder”.
Mr Trump stood by his remarks on Thursday, using a sports phrase to say Mr Obama and Mrs Clinton were the Islamic State’s “most valuable players”.
Hezbollah agree with Trump
Meanwhile, ABC News quotes the leader of Hezbollah over the weekend saying Trump’s accusation that President Obama and Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton founded ISIS, is true.
Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese militant group, used Trump’s claim last week that Obama and Clinton were behind the extremist group ISIS’s establishment to bolster his criticism of the U.S. administration in a speech in Lebanon on Saturday, according to a transcript posted by the group’s media arm.
“This is not simple speech,” Nasrallah said of Trump’s remarks.
“This is an American presidential candidate. This was spoken on behalf of the American Republican Party. He has data and documents.”
Trump said on Wednesday that Obama was “the founder of ISIS” and later expanded the claim to include Clinton. Trump repeated his accusation throughout the next day.
He said Friday morning the comment was meant as sarcasm, but later that day qualified that by saying his initial claim was “not that sarcastic.”
Hezbollah, a Shiite Muslim militant group and political party, has aligned itself with Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime in that government’s civil war against rebel factions. The Lebanese group is also fighting ISIS.
The United States has openly called for Assad to step down and considers both Hezbollah and ISIS terrorist organizations.
Mike Pence backs Trump
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said Donald Trump was being “serious” when he spoke this week about President Barack Obama being the “founder” of ISIS, saying that the GOP nominee “getting people’s attention.”
Speaking with “Fox News Sunday,” Trump’s running mate was asked to clear up whether Trump was being sarcastic, as he tweeted on Friday, or being serious, as he said multiple times throughout the week.
“I think he was being very serious,” Pence said. “He was making a point that needs to be made, that there is no question that the failed policies of President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in the wider Middle East, created a vacuum within Iraq in which ISIS was able to arise.”
Pence said Trump was making a “serious point” to call attention to the issue.
“Donald Trump has a way of talking to get people’s attention, and it’s drawn attention to a very important issue,” Pence said.
Fox’s Chris Wallace pressed Pence, asking if the “sarcastic excuse” is “getting a bit old.” He cited Trump’s past comments inviting Russia to access and release Clinton’s emails, then later walking them back as a joke.
“I don’t think it’s getting old at all,” Pence said. “Donald Trump made his way through a very competitive primary because he spoke not like your typical politician, but just plainly like and everyday American … They’re going to have a president who tells them exactly what’s on his mind, and the American people are going to hear him, and hear him loud and clear.”