Donald Trump accuses Obama of being ‘founder of ISIL’
DONALD Trump accused President Barack Obama on Wednesday of founding the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant group (ISIL, also known as ISIS) that is wreaking havoc from the Middle East to European cities.
A moment later, on another topic, he emphasised the president’s full legal name: Barack Hussein Obama.
“In many respects, you know, they honour President Obama,” Trump said during a raucous campaign rally outside Fort Lauderdale, Florida. “He is the founder of ISIS.” He repeated the allegation three times. “He’s the founder of ISIS, okay?” he added. “He’s the founder. He founded ISIS.”
Trump has long blamed Obama and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for pursuing Middle East policies that created a power vacuum in Iraq that was exploited by ISIL.
He has sharply criticised Obama for announcing that he would pull US troops out of Iraq, a decision that many Obama critics say created the kind of instability in which groups such as ISIL thrive.
The White House declined to comment on Trump’s accusation.
The former property mogul and reality TV star went on to criticise Clinton, his Democratic party rival for the presidency.
“And I would say, the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton,” he said.
The Republican presidential nominee has in the past accused Clinton of “founding” the group.
ISIL began as Iraq’s local affiliate of al-Qaeda and has carried out massive attacks against Iraq’s Shia Muslim majority, fuelling tensions with al-Qaeda’s central leadership.
The local group’s then-leader, Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, was killed in 2006 in a US air strike but is still seen as its founder.
Trump’s accusation — and his pointed use of the president’s middle name, Hussein — echoed previous instances where he has questioned Obama’s loyalties.
In June, when a gunman who claimed allegiance to ISIL killed 49 people in a Florida nightclub, Trump seemed to suggest Obama was sympathetic to the group when he said Obama “doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands”.
In the past, Trump has also falsely suggested that Obama is a Muslim or was born in Kenya, where Obama’s father was from.
Trump lobbed the allegation halfway through his rally at a sports arena, where riled-up supporters shouted obscenities about Clinton and shouted “lock her up”.
He also railed against the fact that the Orlando shooter’s father, Seddique Mateen, was spotted in the crowd behind Clinton during a Monday rally in Florida, saying: “Of course he likes Hillary Clinton.”
Trump has been criticised over the past week for comments he made suggesting gun rights advocates could stop Clinton from becoming president and picking new, anti-gun Supreme Court judges, by using their second amendment rights, which allow them to bear arms.
“Hillary wants to essentially abolish the Second Amendment,” Trump told a rally in North Carolina.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks,” Trump said. “Although the Second Amendment people — maybe there is, I don’t know.”
Trump’s campaign spokesman later denied allegations that the comments were advocating for Clinton to be assassinated.
Meanwhile, Trump and his campaign are expressing ideas similar to those espoused by white supremacists, legal, media and civil rights experts say. In addition, the experts said on Wednesday, white supremacists are using the 2016 presidential elections to attempt to control the culture of politics.
“Many white supremacists see this as their last stand for controlling the country,” Heidi Beirich, head of the Intelligence Project at the Southern Poverty Law Centre, said on a conference call with reporters.
Representatives of Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee did not return calls seeking comment.
Beirich said Trump has flirted with these groups and their ideals through some of his campaign statements and platforms, including building a wall between the US-Mexico border; a proposed ban on Muslims entering the country; planning to join Marco Rubio at what they consider an anti-LGBT event in Orlando on the two-month anniversary of the Pulse massacre; and the failure to immediately denounce the endorsement of David Duke, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Angelo Carusone, executive vice president of Media Matters for America, a liberal advocacy group, noted that Trump has retweeted posts from white supremacist accounts on Twitter.
Twitter is Trump’s biggest microphone, and his rhetoric correlates with some of the beliefs of white supremacy organisations and communities, Carusone said.
Sophie Bjork-James, a Vanderbilt University lecturer and expert in white supremacist social movements, said white nationalists are attempting to increase their numbers through Trump’s campaign.
“They are organising online to rebrand to respectable politics,” she said. “Instead of being racist, they try to be respectable, but they are also using conspiracy theories to control the media through their social media handles for white nationalist ideas.”— Al Jazeera —
Trump has taken flak over allegations he called for the assassination of Hillary Clinton EPA