In any other election year, after eight years of a failed Democratic presidency and against a weak Democratic nominee, a GOP candidate for president would be able to win the national election fairly easily. As we all know, the more time passes this year, the less likely such an outcome is. The reason is obvious—the deeply flawed candidacy of Donald Trump. Trump is not only erratic and prone to voicing various conspiracy theories that originate in Russia, but his personal behavior continually reveals him unfit to be America’s commander-in-chief.
In the past few days, Trump first roused a storm of opposition by suggesting at a rally that Second Amendment supporters would see to it that if Hillary Clinton were to become president, she would be stopped from repealing the amendment. His comments were taken to mean that he was either urging political violence by gun rights advocates, or even calling for her assassination. After he saw the response to his words, he said he was only joking, and spokesmen said he meant that Second Amendment supporters could act to get people out to vote so she could not win the election.
Then, a few days ago, Trump said at a rally that Barack Obama “is the founder of ISIS,” and that “I would say the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton.”From Wednesday until this Friday, he reiterated his point over and over, in tweets and on various television and radio news shows. Each time an interviewer asked him if what he really meant was that Obama’s policies created a vacuum that allowed ISIS to gain adherents and victories, he denied that and reiterated that he meant what he said — that Obama was the Islamist group’s founder.
Most famous by now is the Trump interview with conservative broadcaster Hugh Hewitt, who tried his best to get Trump to say the responsible thing and explain that he spoke incorrectly and was only trying to argue that Obama’s policies lay the groundwork for a group like ISIS to spread. Trump could have easily said that Obama’s failure to understand the nature of the ISIS threat and his decision to treat it as a “JV team” allowed the organization to grow in strength without a tough U.S. response to it; or, as Graeme Wood wrote in his now famous Atlantic article, that ISIS cannot be contained as was the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and that it looks forward to the very end of the world after the creation of a world-wide caliphate.
No matter how hard Hewitt tried to get Trump to admit that he really meant what Hewitt said, Trump did not take the bait. Instead, he doubled down by saying he meant that Obama literally was the “founder of ISIS”:
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.
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?
HH: Well, that, you know, I have a saying, Donald Trump, the mnemonic device I use is Every Liberal Really Seems So, So Sad. E is for Egypt, L is for Libya, S is for Syria, R is for Russia reset. They screwed everything up. You don’t get any argument from me. But by using the term founder, they’re hitting with you on this again. Mistake?
DT: No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it. I think they’re liking it. I give him the most valuable player award. And I give it to him, and I give it to, I gave the co-founder to Hillary. I don’t know if you heard that.
HH: I did. I did. I played it.
DT: I gave her the co-founder.
HH: I know what you’re arguing…
DT: You’re not, and let me ask you, do you not like that?
HH: I don’t. I think I would say they created, they lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum, they created the vacuum into which ISIS came, but they didn’t create ISIS. That’s what I would say.
DT: Well, I disagree.
Hewitt tried again, saying: “I don’t think I would say they created, they lost the peace. They created the Libyan vacuum…into which ISIS came, but they didn’t create ISIS.” But Trump again did not agree. He said: “Therefore, he was the founder of ISIS.” Hewitt noted he would use different language than Trump, to which Trump replied, “But they wouldn’t talk about your language, and they do talk about my language, right?”
For the first time, a presidential candidate of any party has suggested in effect that the president of the United States created the West’s greatest enemy, and that in essence he supports that enemy. What, one wonders, do those American troops now advising Iraqi troops think, as they go into battle zones risking their lives? What do those pilots who drop bombs on targeted areas or who command drone attacks from a base in the United States think? As Hewitt said, Obama targets ISIS in drone attacks (which the Left attacks him for) because he wants to kill them. Evidently, Trump thinks this is not the case.
Then Trump tweeted:
He has once again repeated what happened after he saw the harsh response to his comments on the gun issue. On the gun issue, he announced he was only joking. Now, after doubling down over and over that he meant Obama is the founder of ISIS, he announces that he was only being sarcastic and that the media—in this case CNN—doesn’t get it.
My simple question is this: How long can Donald Trump expect to be taken seriously by anyone after repeating the same pattern over and over—making an outrageous statement, standing by it, and then claiming he was not serious?
On Thursday, Hillary Clinton had tweeted that “anyone willing to sink so low, so often should never be allowed to serve as our commander-in-chief.” Unfortunately, on this issue, Hillary Clinton has it right. No wonder she’s soaring in the polls, as more and more voters defect from previous support of Donald Trump.