Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign team is spinning a claim that the Democratic front-runner made during Saturday’s presidential debate that ISIS is using videos of Donald Trump’s remarks about Muslims to recruit terrorists.
Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, and Jennifer Palmieri, her communications director, both acknowledged in separate interviews on Sunday that Clinton did not actually have a specific video in mind when she said that ISIS recruiters “are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists.” But both insisted that the gist of Clinton’s comments about the Republican front-runner are accurate.
“Mr. Trump has a great capacity to use bluster and bigotry to inflame people,” Clinton said Saturday, asserting that the real estate billionaire is “ISIS’s best recruitment tool.” (RELATED:
In the aftermath of terrorist attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Trump called for barring Muslims from entering the U.S.
But fact-checkers looking into Clinton’s bold claim could find no evidence that ISIS is using such propaganda. Trump himself said in an interview on Sunday that “knowing the Clintons and knowing Hillary, she made it up.”
In an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Podesta acknowledged that ISIS is likely not using videos of Trump specifically to recruit terrorists. But he said that Clinton is sticking by her claim.
“I think that if you look at what’s going on in the Middle East the fact that Mr. Trump is on television on there all the time, I think that the fact that ISIS is using him as a recruitment tool, I think it’s a very fair charge,” Podesta said. “He is becoming a very important recruitment tool for ISIS.”
Podesta pointed to an article posted on NBC’s website citing SITE Intelligence, which monitors ISIS on Twitter, as a source of the claim about Trump.
But “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd pushed back, saying that while SITE claimed that there was merely concern that ISIS could use Trump as a recruiting tool, “[Clinton] said it very definitively.”
“If you go back and look at social media, if you look at what’s going on, they are definitely pointing at Mr. Trump,” Podesta insisted.
And asked if Clinton stands by her comments, Podesta said: “She does.”
Podesta wasn’t the only Clinton campaign official to spin the candidate’s comments.
“She didn’t have a particular video in mind, but he is being used in social media,” Palmieri said during an interview on ABC News’s “This Week.”
Like Podesta, she cited SITE Intelligence’s report about ISIS potentially using Trump as a recruitment tools.
“What they have said is that he is being used in social media by ISIS as propaganda,” Palmieri continued, adding again that “she’s not referring to a specific video.”
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) December 20, 2015