Trump: Clinton a ‘liar’ for ISIS recruiting claim
"She's a liar and everybody knows that," Trump said. "She just made this up in thin air"
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Sunday that Democrat Hillary Clinton was a "liar" for claiming that his proposal to ban entry of all foreign Muslims into the United States has aided ISIS's propaganda efforts.
Speaking on NBC's "Meet the Press," Trump said Clinton had no evidence to back up a charge she made during a debate on Saturday that the Republican frontrunner is becoming the extremist group's "best recruiter."
"She's a liar and everybody knows that," Trump said. "She just made this up in thin air."
Trump's call to ban all Muslims from entering the United States following a Jan. 2 attack in San Bernardino, California that killed 14 people has drawn widespread criticism from Republican rivals as well as Democrats like Clinton.
During Saturday night's Democratic debate, Clinton said ISIS is using Trump's rhetoric to enlist fighters to radical militancy.
"They are going to people, showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists," the Democratic frontrunner said.
Counterterrorism experts and Reuters reporters who monitor Islamist online activity have found no evidence so far that ISIS has mentioned Trump in its official online accounts.
Asked to comment on Sunday, the Clinton campaign did not respond to Trump's charge but reiterated that Hillary Clinton's remark was based on evidence that supporters of the extremist group frequently cite Trump's comments to make the case that Americans hate Muslims.
It quoted a counterterrorism expert and linked to a tweet from a "very vocal ISIS supporter."
For Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, that's enough to indicate that Trump is helping, not hurting, the militant group.
"That's the interpretation we made," Podesta said on "Meet the Press," adding "I think it's a very fair charge."
Counterterrorism experts say it is nearly impossible to keep track of the torrent of online activity being generated by ISIS and its sympathizers.
"There are very few analysts who have watched all of ISIS's videos," said counterterrorism analyst Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. "That being said, I believe Hillary Clinton's claim was false."
Still, Trump's comments make it harder for the United States to build good will among Muslim populations and make him complicit in ISIS mobilization efforts, said Democratic strategist Bud Jackson.
"Donald Trump is in essence aiding and abetting the enemy with his comments. He's making things worse, not better. There's no denying that," he said.
Trump defends Putin on journo deaths, asks media to ‘prove it’Trump's statements come just days after a separate talkshow host asked how he felt about Putin Television & Radio
GOP presidential debate in Vegas: The joker is TrumpAt this point, the Republican nomination is up for grabs, but my money is on anyone but Trump World
Bush has a moment of ‘self-therapy,’ calls Trump ‘a jerk’Jeb Bush slammed the billionaire businessman for insulting women, Hispanics and people with disabilities during the campaign World News
Republican donor Adelson and Trump may be aligning on IsraelTop Republican Party donor Sheldon Adelson said on Friday he met presidential candidate Donald Trump earlier this week and that the two American ... World News
From Russia with love: Putin, Trump sing each other’s praisesPresident Putin and Donald Trump praised each other saying they would welcome an improvement relations between their two nations Variety
Obama: Immigration is our ‘oldest tradition’The campaign to succeed Obama has been marked by tough talk against migrants, not least from Donald Trump Middle East
Here’s how Malala responded to Trump's 'ideology of hatred'Trump has been heavily criticized for calling for a ban on all Muslims entering the United States Variety