Donald Trump Insinuates President Obama Identifies With Terrorists
Donald Trump has insinuated that President Obama is not fighting the War On Terror aggressively because he somehow identifies with terrorists.
In addition to doubling down on his Muslim immigration ban, Trump started out the day by insinuating that President Obama was somehow complicit in the attack on Saturday night or that he sympathizes with Islamic terrorists:
Donald Trump seemed to repeatedly accuse President Obama on Monday of identifying with radicalized Muslims who have carried out terrorist attacks in the United States and being complicit in the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando over the weekend, the worst the country has ever seen.
“Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” Trump said in a lengthy interview on Fox News early Monday morning. “And the something else in mind — you know, people can’t believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can’t even mention the words ‘radical Islamic terrorism.’ There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.”
In that same interview, Trump was asked to explain why he called for Obama to resign in light of the shooting and he answered, in part: ”He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands — it’s one or the other, and either one is unacceptable.”
For months, Trump has slyly suggested that the president is not Christian and has questioned his compassion toward Muslims. Years ago, Trump was a major force in calls for the president to release his birth certificate and prove that he was born in the United States. On the campaign trail, Trump has repeatedly stated as fact conspiracy theories about the president, his rivals and Muslims, often refusing to back down from his assertions even when they are proven to be false.
During an appearance on the “Today” show later Monday morning, Savannah Guthrie pushed Trump to explain what he meant in the earlier interview.
“Well there are a lot of people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it,” Trump said. “A lot of people think maybe he doesn’t want to know about it. I happen to think that he just doesn’t know what he’s doing, but there are many people that think maybe he doesn’t want to get it. He doesn’t want to see what’s really happening. And that could be.”
Guthrie asked Trump why that would be, and the presumptive Republican presidential nominee responded: ”Because Savannah, Savannah, why isn’t he addressing the issue? He’s not addressing the issue. He’s not calling it what it is. This is radical Islamic terrorism. This isn’t fighting Germany; this isn’t fighting Japan, where they wear uniforms.”
Trump’s spokeswoman and campaign manager have yet to respond to a request for a fuller explanation of Trump’s comments about the president.
Part of what’s going on here, of course, is Trump attacking Obama for failing to use the world “radical Islamic terrorism” when talking about attacks like this, something which has been a conservative trope for some time now. As I noted back in November in the wake of the attack in Paris, though, there quite literally is no logic behind the argument that the failure to utter these magic words somehow makes a difference in the War On Terror is quite absurd. This isn’t a game of “Open Sesame” where uttering a magic incantation causes a magic door to open or something, and words are hardly the same as proper tactics. Additionally, as even the Bush Administration recognized as far back as the immediate wake of the September 11th attacks that framing the battle that we are currently involved in as one between the West and all of Islam is both inaccurate and, ultimately, a disaster in the making. This is, after all, precisely the argument that groups like ISIS and al Qaeda make when they are recruiting among the civilian population, that the West is out to destroy Islam as a whole rather than merely targeting those people willing to commit violence in its name. It also happens to be an inaccurate statement of what our strategy has been since September 11, 2001. Islam is not our enemy. People who use Islam to justify violence and then commit violence against America and the West are the enemy. If you blame the entire religion for the actions of a few, then you are essentially a bigot.
Beyond a complaint about rhetoric, though, Trump’s comments from yesterday show him returning to a dark corner of American politics that reminds one of his days as the effective head of the birther movement. By insinuating that there’s “something going on” with the President’s supposedly deficient response to the attack in Orlando specifically and he War On Terror in general, Trump seems to be clearly communicating the idea that the President is somehow part of “the other,” that he isn’t a “real American,” and even that he wants the radical Islamists to win their fight with the West notwithstanding the fact he’s been bombing them with drones and increasing America’s troop presence in places such as Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq. Trump doesn’t come right out and say this, of course, and instead leaves it to the audience to connect the dots inherent in what he’s saying, and it’s rather clear where he’s leading that audience. It’s the old argument that Obama is some kind of “secret Muslim” notwithstanding the fact that he has been known to smoke cigarettes and drink alcoholic beverages, and that he supports same-sex marriage and greater equality for gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals. The level of paranoia and conspiracy mongering that has to go through someone’s mind for ideas like this to make even the remotest amount of sense is really quite astounding, and it’s yet another reason why Trump’s qualifications to be President ought to be challenged, openly and starkly, so that voters are clear on exactly who it is the GOP is asking them to elect.
As has been pointed out, as horrible as Sunday’s attack was it’s not the “worst mass shooting in US History.
Heck it’s not even in the top 5.
Be careful, Doug. The Washington Post had its press credentials pulled for posting the article you cited. What will Trump do to OTB?
I was expecting a cool dispassionate thoughtful analysis of these difficult problems followed by a sensible action plan.
In America, all beer commercials contain the word “cold.” All political ads contain the word “tough”, and it has as much real meaning as any advertising gimmick word.
Please don’t take my comments as a negation of the serious reservations I have about other candidates.
The man is totally unqualified, in terms of both intelligence and temperament, to serve in the office of President.
Is it really smart to have a full-blown conspiracy theorist as Commander-in-Chief?
Christ…we might as well elect the poster child of conspiracy theories, Jenos.
Donald Trump has to be one of the worst human beings alive. Each day, he seems to try to top himself and somehow manages to succeed.
I realize I’m dating myself, but I can’t help remembering Joe McCarthy’s attacks on General Marshall and the support McCarthy received from the Republican leadership in Congress and from leading Republican newspapers. It was a shameful period in American public life, and we seem to be repeating it. So thanks, Doug, for standing up for decency. You’re one of the reasons I keep returning to this blog.
@Robert Prather: If you want to see Donald at his finest, google Trump and “Central Park jogger”. This was the real Donald Trump – visceral hate, reaction without thought, and even when proved wrong, absolutely no contrition. The man is the worst serious candidate for president in my lifetime (and I was around when George Wallace was running). He’s an amoral, unrepentant sociopath who can’t string together a sentence without lying,
I suppose that it was inevitable that an internet troll would eventually run for president.
The bottom line is that Trump and 35-40% of the electorate are too horrible and stupid to deal with anything like this. But there are a lot of other white people who like Trump’s economic message and can rationalize some of the immigrant hate. I wonder if they can stomach 5 months of this crap. He really is an old worthless crank. Hillary should call him Aunt Donald.
And that goes for all of these dirtbags who are upset by the fact that gay people are talking about homophobia rather than slaying Muslims and western civilization.
They’re all basically loveless elderly relatives.
This is his essence. Unfortunately, it seems that the lesson politicians of all stripes have learned to never admit error, no matter how obvious the error is. Trump is simply the latest manifestation.
No politician ever went wrong playing on the fears, however irrational, of the American public.
See Bush, George W.
I’m guessing everything hinges on the next set of national polls. If Trump falls outside the margin of error, dropping six or seven points, his campaign will begin to crumble for the first time. Republican panic will increase tenfold and the ‘Dump The Chump’ faction will be listened to seriously for the first time. Trump’s ego will ramp up and explode under the rejection. If, however, his numbers go up, well, the country has a serious problem, and it’s not just Trump we need to worry about.
@Stan: Mentioning McCarthy…Newt Gingrich is calling for a reconvening of the House Committee on Un-American activities.
Because historically, that was such a good idea./s
Honestly, the crazy train is running at full speed.
Donald Trump has to be one of the worst human beings alive and he’s the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States.
There, fixed that for you.
Normally, I’m not one for guilt by association, but, wow, a major party is going to try to get this scumbag elected to lead our country.
Newt always give people competition for worst human being alive.
Both Gingrich and Trump would probably survive direct strike nuclear attacks on each of them.
Trump is a mirror that reflects the thoughts of the Republican base. Does anyone think talk like this is anything new? Obama being on the “other side” or somehow working to “destroy America” is such a common thought on the right that it might as well be basic dogma by now.
Once again, the problem is not what Trump is saying. Republicans have hinted at this for literally 8 years. Trump is just artlessly bellowing what the Republicans whispered among themselves.
Of course he did.
Wow, that’s crazy.
I mean, even during the height of the Watergate scandal, which the Post’s investigative reporting revealed, Nixon never blacklisted the paper.
Is this what we can expect from a Trump presidency–news organizations having their access to the White House cut off unless they report positively?
Does anyone else realize how fvcking fascistic that is?
I think Newt is running for VP.
@Davebo: Huh? No other shooting in the USA had this many victims. By what metric is it not the single worst one?
Trump is a psychopath, but as I’ve been saying, a rare example of a stupid psychopath. This was a potential winner for him and he just dialed it up to 11 when a relatively restrained 8 would probably have helped him.
I would guess this will solidify his base, but I’m hoping the polls don’t show any more than that.
This is what gets me. How can there be so many people who will not only put up with Trump’s immorality (mocking disabled people, etc.) but can’t see how genuinely stupid this man is? He knows absolutely nothing and people can’t see it.
Wear it like the badge of honor it is.
Pissing off Trump to the point of a ban should be a life goal for us all.
Stupid psychopaths aren’t rare. There are vastly, vastly more stupid psychopaths than intelligent psychopaths, because their distribution largely tracks that of the general population. There is no positive link between psychopathy and intelligence — except, of course, for super-villains in comic books and Hollywood movies.
For what it’s worth, Paul Ryan says a Muslim ban isn’t in the country’s best interest. What he meant was that a Trump presidency isn’t in the country’s best interest.
I imagine he’s referring to stuff like this:
It may be the biggest mass shooting by a single shooter. I don’t know.
“Both Gingrich and Trump would probably survive direct strike nuclear attacks on each of them.”
Well, Trump’s hair would.
And then we have Trump surrogate Chris Christie saying that Orlando should be met with an overseas military response. No saying where or against whom. Trump and his supporters are making Bush the Younger look retrained and thoughtful.
I meant in public life. Stupid psychopaths are generally in prison or selling real estate. Oh, wait! Trump is in real estate. Huh.
Well, Paul Ryan could make the whole issue of a temporary ban on Muslims entering the US go away by passing legislation mandating improvements in how such visitors and immigrants are vetted for radical Islamic beliefs.
You know, basically beef up the Visa program, which is suppose to vet those who seek entrance into a country. Of course, one problem is that visa were easier to obtain from countries we had good law enforcement ties with, but in regards to Islamic extremists that is no longer true for many European countries.
And yes, we do have citizens who have developed radical Islamic extremist beliefs, but that is no reason to take those of other countries in. Just like even though we have citizen murderers and rapists, we should stop such from other countries from crossing into the US by building infrastructure that funnels all crossings to manned border crossing points. Where by the way those non-US citizens entering the US are vetted for violent criminal histories such as rape and murder.
@Stan: so wasn’t the republican party mainly the democrats back then? it”s hard to keep up with all the “party switches” in here- they always seem to pop up here and there whenever there’s discussion on things like women’s rights, jim crow/segregation and all that.
but hey, the kennedy’s were pretty tight with joe mac too…..
calling someone out for their failures is not a crime, it’s a crime that the media sre so cozy with the white house and their chronic need to vilify inanimate objects for the actions of depraved people.
Eh, even in public life. That’s full of high-achieving and even cunning psychopaths, but not necessarily intelligent ones. Just look at the GOP national and state politicians — a large proportion of psychopaths, but very few genuinely intelligent people among them. On the whole it’s a group that impresses with its’ bone-deep stupidity.
Perhaps Trump will be declaring himself morally bankrupt, to go along with the many times he was financially bankrupt.
@Moosebreath: This is why I didn’t really worry about a Trump presidency during the primaries — all of the Republicans were horrible, and the only difference was that Trump actually looked and acted like the horrible person he was.
Ted Cruz would have swallowed his reptilian tongue before he said something so offensive, and then climbed off the rock he was sunning himself on and made some statement that sounded reasonable in comparison because it wouldn’t have had personal insults.
Marco Rubio would have mustered some genuine compassion to help support his desire to attack Queens — the nightclub was in his home state, and he was probably there dozens of times.
Overall, I’m pleased the Republicans chose someone as ugly on the outside as he is on the inside.
Here’s what we know: Should Trump win, America will become a meaner and nastier place to live in for many of our fellow citizens. Every Hispanic will be treated as an illegal (who can tell the difference? Easier to treat them all as criminals). For Muslim Americans, life will grow increasingly to look like and feel like Germany in the thirties. The fact that they have been instrumental in keeping the country safe from extremists (see link below) will carry no weight in Tump’s America and so leave us all less secure. None of this is a maybe, it’s a certainty. The guy will not be able to control his impulses and his impulse is to do as he wants and by winning the election the country will have given him its permission.
@Jen: I’ve had R.E.M.’s “Exhuming McCarthy” running through my head these past few days. This is exhausting. I can’t imagine what rational people in Washington are feeling right now. They must be horror-stricken at this panoply of mindless, senseless demagoguery and rage. Not that I’m not despairing, but I can’t imagine what it must be like for someone like Joe Biden.
He better move fast.
And he better have a plan to get that legislation passed and signed by President Obama.
And really, you think with the “ban Muslims” crap floating around that there’s going to be enough trust for our parties to work together to “beef up the Visa” system?
Ryan’s comments about the Muslim ban should be a clear message to you and anyone that A) he’s not going to support it in Congress at all and B) it’s a pipe dream that’s being sold to you by a con man who thinks you’re a sucker.
He must of said that between runs to McDonalds for his lord and master…
No, sweetie, you’re confused (as usual)…today’s GOP is made up of yesterday’s Dixiecrats…
In his case, more like “knows”…
I imagine they’re both quite upset.
I can find bigger attacks, but I can’t find any mass shooting event in our history (unless you are counting the Civil War), that had over 100 victims and 50 dead. Do you have a source? Especially if its true that this shooting wouldn’t ever be in the top 5.
I predict–with some hesitation–that the schtick that propelled Trump in the primary will doom him in the fall. I would gladly wager with anyone on this board that we see a Clinton bump in polls later this week/early next week.
(Since this wager is made not out of bravado but out of a pure interest in gambling, the wager should of course be a donation to a charity of the winner’s choice.)
I see what you did there.
I know! It might actually force the newspapers to do some real reporting! (Like the Post showing that Trump didn’t actually donate that money to vets like he promised until caught in his lie.)
@bill: Bobby Kennedy worked for McCarthy in the 1950’s. Strom Thurmond switched to the Republican Party in1964. I am mentally stuck in 1967, but I have gotten used to the GOP being the Dixiecrat party.
Just off the top of my head, the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1893, in which over 150 Indian men, women and children who had peaceably assembled were murdered by the US Army. The Indian Wars were over by then, and the Indians were not a hostile armed force, but rather a group of civilians.
The Orlando attack may be the largest mass shooting event by one single individual, though.
@C. Clavin: “I think Newt is running for VP.
How can he be veep if he’s not willing to pick up Trump’s McDonald’s order?
So your opinion is that Obama would not sign legislation that mandated improvements in our immigration system to vet and filter out those with radical Islamic beliefs like those of the terrorists that have killed Americans, Frenchmen, Brits, etc. in attacks?
Wouldn’t that be confirming Trumps “suggestion” regarding Obama?
Amazing what one can do with an AR-15…but don’t dare try to outlaw it, after all, they’re more people to be kill–, er, more deer to be hunted…
@Mikey: This may be nit picking, but for it to be fascistic, he has to have a gang to enforce it. If he can do it by his own power alone, it is authoritarian. This is the objection that I have to the “Trump as Caudillo” argument, too. The thing that makes a caudillo is not that he’s a ruthless thug; it’s that he commands a band of other thugs or an army.
Oh I’m sure there are quite a few people who would be willing to do that for Trump…
@Robert Prather: It’s not that they don’t see it, it’s that they don’t care. He is the agent that will bring about the world that they think they want to live in.
In much the same way that fundy/Evangelicals that I have known don’t fear a pseudo-Christian demagogue as a dictator, these people don’t fear Trump. “I would never be breaking the laws in such a society, so I don’t need to worry.”
@Neil Hudelson: “I would gladly wager with anyone on this board that we see a Clinton bump in polls later this week/early next week.”
I could also see an immediate boost for Trump, followed by a rapid decline. There’s a sugar rush quality to a lot of his schtick, but every time the bounce is a little lower and the fall a little faster.
He most certainly would sign a bill that actually improves our immigration system and/or prevent Islamic terrorists from entering the country.
There is just no reason to think that is the bill the Republicans would bring to him.
@Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:
Yes, that’s true–he isn’t “there” yet. This is why I generally refer to Trump as “quasi-fascist,” or “fascistic,” not as actually fascist. He displays aspects of fascism, uses some fascist tropes, speaks some fascist language, but he isn’t “fully” fascist.
Not yet, anyway.
Modern Caudillos are not thugs, they are basically rich right wing demagogues. In Brazil, instead of the caudillo there is the figure of the “coronel”(In the 1800´s, rich landowners would buy designations in the army).
This kind of machine politics it´s not completely unknown in America History, take a look at Tammany Hal. Take a look at the robber barons.
@wr: @Neil Hudelson:
Could favor Trump, could favor Hillary. I think Trump has defined the battlefield, and as I’ve said I’d have preferred to fight from about 10 feet behind our current position, but you get the war you get. My instinct (hope) is that the details of this atrocity are too slippery to be used quite as effectively by Trump. And Obama is acting like a really good blocker for Hillary.
But where the public goes on this? It depends on the cashier and the code monkey and the teacher and the unemployed machinist. I don’t know which way the herd will move. There’s a piece in War and Peace (IIRC) where Tolstoy takes a little digression into battlefield dynamics, and talks about how a battle can turn on a single soldier deciding to advance or run away.
That’s what’s so strange about this election. We keep coming to these moments when no one from political scientist to professional pundit to amateur pundit really has any idea how it will break.
Good to know. Maybe after 30 years, the left can give up their “trope” that Ronald Reagan was responsible for the AIDS epidemic because he didn’t say the word until 1987.
Then the Right can stop whining about “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas.”
In general I agree that both sides, lacking the capacity to argue rationally over the real-world effects of various policies, obsess over language. It’s magical thinking. It’s also a way for people who lack the energy to inform themselves, let alone get involved, to pretend they’ve contributed.
I note that the latest NBC poll has Clinton at 49 and Trump at 41, and this post his judge attack. Can’ see anyone swayed by that being impressed with his latest attacks on Muslim Americans.
Sounds like normal GOP commentary to me:
NEWS FLASH? OBAMA HATES AMERICA
Ben Stein Asks If Obama Hates America Because He’s Black
Brietbart: Obama hates American Veterans
In particular, recent GOP legislating ‘mandating’ this or that change has invariably failed to be accompanied by appropriated funds to actually make it happen. Unfunded mandates are nice for grandstanding, but they don’t accomplish anything.
I’m tearing my hair out, er, biting my nails waiting for the first round of post-Orlando polling. I want to believe Americans will reject Trump wholesale, like a mass physical revulsion.
Possibly gay-Muslim-native-born wife-beater shooting up a gay bar is just not ‘written’ in a way I can parse politically. My growing suspicion is that I was right to believe this narrative didn’t have quite the right details to catch fire. I note that Drudge is moving on. I note as well the deafening lack of support for Trump from GOP officialdom.
I want to believe we’ve been inoculated by earlier events, and by this one as well. But I won’t be convinced until I see the little red and blue lines at RealClearPolitics.com. Thanks God Obama is actively involved in this. The contrast between Obama and Trump is compelling, but we’ll know by the end of the week whether the American people are going sane or insane.
@michael reynolds: “In general I agree that both sides, lacking the capacity to argue rationally over the real-world effects of various policies, obsess over language. It’s magical thinking. It’s also a way for people who lack the energy to inform themselves, let alone get involved, to pretend they’ve contributed.”
Sure, Fine, Whatever.
There is, however, a substantive difference. When people complained that Reagan never used the word AIDS, what is meant was that he never EVEN used the word AIDS. In his position as president he never directed any agency of the government to do anything about a terrible crisis that was killing thousands and thousands of people he chose to ignore. He simply refused to acknowldedge the existence of the disease.
Obama doesn’t use Trump’s phrase of choice, but he killed Bin Laden and has droned God knows how many others — and continues to fight.
But fine. Left and right are exactly the same.
Given that on a Right-Left scale with 1 being hard right and 10 being Bernie Sanders I score about an 8; and given that no one here does a better job of beating up on right-wingers than I do; and given that I spend a fair bit of money supporting Democratic candidates; and given that pretty much alone among my writerly ilk I regularly excoriate right-wingers to 19,000 fans; I’d have thought it was obvious that I don’t believe, nor have I ever said, “Left and right are exactly the same.”
Some of you get very upset when I admit that the other side has any sort of point to make at all. Well, sorry, but sometimes they do. I don’t start with ideology and then feed in facts, I like it the other way around. It is a fact that many on the Left have invested a tremendous amount of energy in what are essentially semantic wars, as have people on the Right. In my opinion that is a waste of everyone’s time and distracts us from paying attention to the underlying issues.
Admitting that one’s opponents occasionally make a good point is not surrender, it’s smart. Because in the end what we need is for this country to come together, to find some way to reduce the gap between us and them. I don’t think insisting on 100% adherence to the party line makes sense, especially at a time when we badly need to convince right-wing voters not to support Trump. How do we demand that they look beyond tribal loyalty if we won’t?
New poll. I gather it was in the field when this was going down, so it does not reflect subsequent narratives. But it has Hillary at 49, Trump at 37, a 12 point gap, which is amazing given her high negatives and the depth of polarization.
The one bad sign in the poll was that poll-ees gave Trump a four point edge on fighting terrorism. I hope they revisit that number in a few days. That will tell us which way the voters are going.
But equally interesting to me was a hint on MSNBC from the pollster that we’d be seeing more of the same down the road. His lips to God’s ears.
@Scott: Newt’s first reaction seemed sober and thoughtful. I guess that, since that first reaction, he realized that continuing to talk that way would destroy any chance of becoming the VP candidate with The Donald.
@michael reynolds: “Admitting that one’s opponents occasionally make a good point is not surrender, it’s smart”
I’m not talking about a “good point.” I’m talking about a pernicious lie.
Reagan chose to ignore AIDS because he didn’t give a damn about gay people. And I’m pretty sick of seeing US history rewritten so that we all have to pretend this monster was a saint.
Of course the fact that it happened now and not, say, on the eve of Election Day, makes it largely irrelevant politically. Everyone knows swing voters have about the attention span of Dory the Fish, and while the right can continue screaming about this event until November, it just won’t have the same impact a half a year down the line. The element of visceral fear that these sorts of events always produce immediately in their wake will have long faded.