Yesterday Donald Trump said that President Barack Obama founded ISIS. Not created the environment for ISIS to thrive, not the power vacuum that allowed ISIS to get a foothold and not even that Obama encouraged ISIS by inaction. Donald Trump said that Barack Obama founded ISIS.
“You know in many respects [ISIS] honors President Obama,” Trump told a rally yesterday in Florida, starting at 0:20 in the above video. “ISIS is honoring President Obama. He is the founder of ISIS. He’s the founder of ISIS, okay? He’s the founder! He founded ISIS! And I would say the co-founder would be Crooked Hillary Clinton.”
You may be thinking that Donald Trump was using hyperbole, or that he was saying that Obama figuratively founded ISIS. You would be wrong. Trump supporters have tried to backpedal Trump’s words, saying that Obama created the environment for ISIS, or the way that the US pulled out of Iraq in 2011 helped propel the terrorist organization to the forefront. But Trump wanted to make sure that there was no doubt that he believes President of the United States Barack Obama founded the terrorist organization ISIS. Now might be a good time to point out that it was the Bush Administration that began the withdrawal of troops in Iraq in 2007.
When conservative radio pundit Hugh Hewitt questioned him, Trump confirmed his clearly false position. “Last night you said the president was the founder of ISIS,” Hewitt asked the nominee. “I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.”
“No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS, I do,” Trump retorted. “He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”
An audibly irritated Hewitt again tried to clarify, saying that Obama was not sympathetic to ISIS, and in fact “hates them and is trying to kill them.” Trump again doubled down, saying “I don’t care. He was the founder. His — the way he got out of Iraq was that — that was the founding of ISIS, OK?”
Listen to the remarkable exchange here:
ISIS, or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, was largely formed by a Jordanian named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. After kicking around the fringes of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda throughout the 1990s, he fled to Iraq in 2001. He set up the Party of Monotheism and Jihad, which largely targeted Shiites with a notion to topple the government of Jordan. After the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, the name was changed to Al-Qaeda in Iraq and began an extensive campaign of guerrilla warfare and suicide bombings against the US. Zarqawi was killed in 2006, but co-founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi took the reins in 2010, changing the name finally to ISIS.
President Obama Is Not the ‘Founder of ISIS.’ Here’s Who Really Started It