Apparently unable to help himself, Donald Trump went from hinting that President Obama is working with ISIS to outright saying it. It marks the first time in American history that a presidential nominee has accused the sitting president of treason. For Trump, it’s just another day.
Since news broke of a mass shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub, Trump’s unhinged response has been a mixture of Muslim-bashing and Obama-blaming rhetoric. Earlier this week, Trump “implied” that Obama may sympathize with Islamic extremists and may even intentionally let them attack Americans because of his loyalty to Islam. Trump, who once spent a mountain of money on a failed quest to prove Obama was born in Kenya, knew his fans would pick up on the implications. What he didn’t count on, however, was that the news media would call him on it.
The Washington Post ran a story which accurately quoted Trump and covered the insane accusations he had made. He lost his mind, throwing a temper tantrum that culminated in taking the fascistic step of yanking the Post‘s press credentials. However, just a few days after feigning outrage over their coverage of his accusations of treason, Trump dropped the subtext entirely and straight-up accused Obama (and Clinton) of supporting ISIS on his official Twitter account.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 15, 2016
For those of you keeping score at home, here’s how things have gone: Trump implied Obama was working for ISIS, then banned a newspaper from his campaign for saying he implied Obama was working for ISIS, and now he says that he was right to accuse Obama of working for ISIS.
The link he cites comes from right-wing garbage dump Breitbart.com, a conservative website with a hilarious track record of getting things wrong. Unsurprisingly, that appears to be the case here as well.
Their basic argument is that the Obama administration has supported Syrian rebel groups and Al Qaeda is one rebel group working in Syria, so therefore, Obama has supported Al Qaeda (which some elements of have rebranded as ISIS). If that link sounds weak at best, you would be right. This is a well-known conservative conspiracy theory and one that has been repeatedly debunked.
Here’s Think Progress:
Middle East scholar Juan Cole derided the idea that the memo proves that the U.S. was supporting ISIS as “an unfounded conspiracy theory.” Rather, it was a “correct assessment of where things were going in Syria.” The memo states that “those powers (e.g. Turkey and the Gulf monarchies) supporting the opposition wanted to see the declaration of a Salafi (hard line Sunni) breakaway statelet, in order to put pressure on the al-Assad regime.”
It does not say the United States supports an Islamic State and “warns that any such development could lead to the break-up of Iraq, an eventuality that the authors clearly felt was undesirable.”
In fact, much of the “support” for Syrian rebels never materialized precisely because the Obama administration was having a hard time finding groups that weren’t link to extremist groups in some form or another. As The Hill reports, just 150 rebels out of the desired 6,000 were trained and equipped by America and its allies before the support program was abandoned entirely. There is no evidence that any of these rebels were linked to ISIS, a group President Obama has relentlessly targeted with air strikes.
Trump, of course, has never let facts get in the way of a good narrative, however. Rather than pause and think about the consequences he’s causing by openly accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of working with ISIS, his stubby thumbs fire out a tweet he knows will be like catnip for his rabid fan base.
And hey, maybe it will at least serve as a distraction from the fact that less than 12 hours earlier, Trump accused American soldiers of stealing millions of dollars in aid money to Iraq.
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