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Trump: Obama is ‘founder of IS’ comment was ‘sarcasm’

Republican nominee berates CNN for reporting allegation ‘so seriously’; ‘They don’t get sarcasm?’ he tweets

US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign rally in Kissimmee, Florida, on August 11, 2016. (AFP/Gregg Newton)
US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses supporters during a campaign rally in Kissimmee, Florida, on August 11, 2016. (AFP/Gregg Newton)

Republican nominee Donald Trump on Friday said that his description of Barack Obama as a founder of the Islamic State group was “sarcasm.”

The Republican nominee roiled the campaign late Wednesday by telling a rally in Florida that the US president “is the founder of ISIS.”

“And I would say, the co-founder would be crooked Hillary Clinton,” he added. Trump repeated the statement in two interviews and at several rallies on Thursday.

But in a tweet Friday criticizing CNN’s coverage, he said the network reported his claim “so seriously.”

“THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?” he tweeted.

Trump’s comments were seen as accusing Obama of creating conditions that allowed IS to thrive. But asked about that Thursday, Trump seemed to go further. He told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt “No, I meant that he’s the founder of ISIS, I do.”

On Thursday, Clinton admonished Trump for the Islamic State “smear” against the US president.

“No, Barack Obama is not the founder of ISIS,” Clinton tweeted.

“Anyone willing to sink so low, so often should never be allowed to serve as our commander-in-chief.”

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton talks about her economic plan, August 10, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Steve Pope/Getty Images/AFP)
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton talks about her economic plan, August 10, 2016 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Steve Pope/Getty Images/AFP)

A furious Democratic National Committee on Thursday called on the real estate mogul to “apologize for his outrageous, unhinged and patently false suggestions.”

Instead, amid a flare of renewed controversy less than three months before the November 8 election, Trump doubled down, repeating to homebuilders in Miami Beach, Florida that Obama and Clinton founded the violent extremist group.

“ISIS will hand her the most valuable player award,” he said of Clinton, 68.

He made the claim again at a rally Thursday night in Kissimmee, Florida.

Clinton’s campaign issued a stern statement saying Trump has “an aversion to the truth.”

“This is another example of Donald Trump trash-talking the United States,” Clinton senior policy advisor Jake Sullivan said in the statement.

Trump was “echoing the talking points of [Russian President Vladimir] Putin and our adversaries to attack American leaders and American interests, while failing to offer any serious plans to confront terrorism or make this country more secure,” he added.

While Trump’s remarks landed him in fresh controversy, they did manage to push another deeply divisive row — his remarks that could be interpreted as advocating gun violence against Clinton — out of the headlines.

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