Wednesday 13 December 2017

Hillary Clinton 'created Isil with Obama', claims Trump

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump speaks at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi. Photo: Getty
Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump speaks at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi, Mississippi. Photo: Getty

David Lawler

Donald Trump has claimed Hillary Clinton is responsible for the rise of Isil in his latest offensive in an ongoing clash between the Republican and Democratic presidential frontrunners.

Mr Trump, addressing 15,000 supporters at a raucous campaign rally in Mississippi on Saturday night, continued his assault on Ms Clinton's foreign policy experience.

"Hillary Clinton created Isil with Obama," he said, sending cheers rippling through the arena in Biloxi. "Created. With. Obama."

Republicans have pilloried Ms Clinton for months over the global turmoil that followed the four years she spent as President Barack Obama's secretary of state.

Mr Trump has now taken those attacks to a new extreme by suggesting that she is the primary culprit in the rise of Isil.

His remarks follow Ms Clinton's contention, in the most recent Democratic presidential debate, that Mr Trump was becoming Isil's "best recruiter".

"They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists," Ms Clinton claimed last month.

A propaganda film emerged last week from al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda's affiliate in Somalia, which featured Mr Trump's call for a "total and complete shutdown" of Muslims entering the US.

The group used Mr Trump's comments as part of a recruitment pitch that claimed that the West was turning against its Muslim citizens, who should rise up and join jihad.

Mr Trump responded to that video for the first time yesterday, saying terrorist groups "use other people too" in such videos, and repeating his claim that only he had "the guts" to bring up the "problem" of Muslims in America.

"What am I going to do? I have to say what I have to say," he told CBS News.

Supporters of the real-­estate mogul turned presidential hopeful at Saturday's rally were unfazed by news of the al-Shabaab video. Most seemed to believe the video was a fake, created with the intention of damaging Mr Trump.

Others said the video indicated that terrorists feared the prospect of Mr Trump in the White House.

Jacob Canova, a Trump supporter and Gulf War veteran, said the video was made because groups such as Isil would "rather have Obama" than Mr Trump.

"A lot of these terrorists will do anything they can to antagonise us, and they know, if we have a strong American president, that veterans wouldn't hesitate to go back in and fight," Mr Canova told 'The Washington Post'.

Mr Trump did not mention the video at the rally in Mississippi, focusing instead on his high poll numbers and the travails of his Republican opponents, who he portrays as a hapless, "low-energy" bunch that he will defeat easily.

An average of recent polls shows Mr Trump with a lead of 16pc on the Republican side, and Ms Clinton 23 points ahead of her Democratic rivals.

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