Donald Trump says he was being sarcastic about Barack Obama being the founder of Isis

This is not the first time the Republican candidate has been forced to backtrack after sparking controversy 

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Friday 12 August 2016 13:29 BST
Trump: Obama is the founder of Isis

This is becoming a habit.

Donald Trump this week insisted that Barack Obama was the “founder of Isis”. He did not simply argue that the president’s policies had allowed Isis to flourish in Iraq and Syira, but that the president was the group's founder.

“In many respects, you know, they honour President Obama,” Mr Trump told a crowd in Florida on Wednesday night. “He’s the founder of Isis. He’s the founder of Isis. He’s the founder. He founded Isis.”

On Friday, amid mounting outrage and accusations that Mr Trump was engaging in dog whistle politics, he claimed that he had simply been joking.

“Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) “the founder” of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON'T GET SARCASM?,” he said on Twitter.

Mr Trump’s supporters found themselves struggling to defend the candidate’s comments following his latest speech, in which he also repeatedly referred to the president by his full name - Barack Hussein Obama. His running mate, Mike Pence, said the media was being distracted by semantics and that Mr Trump was making a broader point.

Yet critics pointed out that his was not the first time Mr Trump had indulged in using very loaded language about the president. After the June attack on an Orlando nightclub, an incident in which the shooter was apparently inspired by Isis, Mr Trump seemed to imply Mr Obama was somehow involved.

“He doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands,” Mr Trump said of the president.

Others said his use of the president’s full name called to mind his long and twisting effort to try and prove Mr Obama was not a US citizen and that he was in truth a Muslim who was born in either Kenya or Indonesia. Mr Obama was born in Hawaii.

This is not the first time that Mr Trump has claimed that he was making a joke after finding himself in the centre of controversy.

Last month, after suggesting that Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s email server - something that sparked outcry among supporters and opponents - Mr Trump said the following day that he had been being sarcastic.

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