During the third Democratic presidential debate on Saturday, candidate Hillary Clinton called GOP rival Donald Trump the Islamic State’s “best recruiter” and said that videos of him “insulting Islam and Muslims” are being used by ISIS “to recruit more radical jihadists.”
Clinton brought up Trump’s rhetoric regarding Muslims when she was asked about the need for gun control in the United States. She began talking about ISIS, and said she thinks the U.S. should be “welcoming and working with” the Muslim-American community.
[pull_quote_center]I worry greatly that the rhetoric coming from the Republicans, particularly Donald Trump, is sending a message to Muslims here in the United States and literally around the world that there is a ‘clash of civilizations,’ that there is some kind of Western plot or even ‘war against Islam,’ which then I believe fans the flames of radicalization.[/pull_quote_center]
Clinton went on to say that a lot of people are “understandably reacting out of fear and anxiety about what they’re seeing” after recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, California, and that Trump has “a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people and to make think there are easy answers to very complex questions.”
Clinton said that if it were up to her, she would focus on “watching what happens and reporting it if it’s suspicious,” as well as “making sure that Muslim-Americans don’t feel left out or marginalized at the very moment when we need their help.”
[pull_quote_center]And we also need to make sure that the really discriminatory messages that Trump is sending around the world don’t fall on receptive ears. He is becoming ISIS’s best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.[/pull_quote_center]
When asked about Clinton’s comments, John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign chairman, said she stands by her claim that ISIS is using Trump to recruit jihadists.
Podesta told Chuck Todd on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday that NBC recently “ran a piece citing the most important organization that follows ISIS on social media that said that they are using social media, that they are using Donald Trump as a recruitment tool.”
“That’s what she was referencing and that’s the interpretation we made,” Podesta said. “And I think that if you look at what is going on in the Middle East, the fact that Mr. Trump is on television over there all the time, the fact that ISIS is using him as a recruitment tool, I think it is a very fair charge.”
After investigating whether the rhetoric from the Clinton campaign was true, Politifact concluded that they “were unable to find any evidence to support” the claim:
[pull_quote_center]The Clinton campaign did not provide any evidence that this is already happening – only that it could be happening, or that it may in the future. If ISIS was using Trump for recruitment videos, we would expect a frenzy of media coverage over it. We rate this claim False.[/pull_quote_center]
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