After backlash about his comments Monday, in which Donald Trump implied the president knew about and was complicit in the shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Trump walked them back the way he usually does: not by apologizing, but by saying he was misunderstood. In a statement to Bloomberg, Trump said he was “referring to the fact that at times President Obama seems more in support of Muslims than Israel.”
“For example the Iran deal, which was one of the worst deals in history, gave $150 billion dollars to a radical regime, which will allow them to fund terrorist activities as well as pursue their stated goal of ‘full annihilation and destruction’ of Israel. It is great for Iran and bad for Israel and the United States,” the statement continued.
Not only is Trump generalizing that all Muslims (who are a significant part of the Israeli population) are terrorists, but the sudden invocation of Israel to justify comments about an attack conducted by an American citizen with no connection to either country makes no sense: It is a meaningless justification after the fact of Trump’s outrageous statements.
The $150 billion bit is false and clearly, as usual, Trump stuck to the closest Republican argument, and an issue sure to get his base fired up, to defend another of his offensive remarks without having to apologize.
Donald Trump spent Monday being Donald Trump — hideously diverting attention from the fact he offers no solutions to the country’s problems by saying outrageous things to distract the media and the public, and then being more outrageous, in place of an apology, so that he never has to explain himself.
The presumptive Republican nominee appeared on Fox & Friends Monday morning to comment on the Orlando shooting and to say that President Obama “doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands.”
“Look, we’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind. And the something else in mind… you know, people can’t believe it. They cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts.” Trump went on, implying that Obama knew about the attack and let it happen; that he is sympathetic to violent extremist groups and is actively working to kill Americans. Trump has made similar claims in the past.
At least, that’s how most people interpreted Trump’s purposefully-vague statement, including the Washington Post. Trump revoked their press credentials as a result of their coverage of his remarks.
Trump then went on the Today show and performed another of his favorite tricks. He tried getting away with a highly inflammatory comment by saying that unspecified “people,” not him, think that President Obama is complicit in terrorism.
“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.”
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a campaign speech about national security in Manchester