Donald Trump says Barack Obama is the “founder” of ISIS. Let’s hear his explanations for this. First, there’s this, on the Hugh Hewitt show yesterday:
HH: I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.
DT: No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do…. It’s no mistake.
So he meant it literally. Then there’s this, about 20 seconds later:
HH: I’d just use different language to communicate it….
DT: But they wouldn’t talk about your language, and they do talk about my language, right?
So he didn’t mean it literally. It was deliberate hyperbole in order to get people talking. Then there’s this, from the wee hours of this morning:
Ratings challenged @CNN reports so seriously that I call President Obama (and Clinton) “the founder” of ISIS, & MVP. THEY DON’T GET SARCASM?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 12, 2016
It was just sarcasm! Why don’t you people get this?
So why does Trump do this stuff? The most likely explanation, of course, is that he’s a child who can’t control his mouth, and then invents transparently dumb excuses when he’s caught with his hand in the cookie jar. But there’s another possibility.
Everyone remembers the famous LBJ quip about why he called his opponent a pig fucker, right? Johnson admitted it wasn’t true, but “I want him to have to deny it,” he explained.
Well, what have we been talking about for the past few days? First, that Hillary Clinton doesn’t really want to eliminate the Second Amendment. She just wants background checks and so forth. Then, that Obama and Clinton aren’t really the founders of ISIS. They just created the vacuum that helped ISIS thrive.
This probably won’t help Trump. But it might. Getting the media to obsess for days about Hillary Clinton’s position on gun control and her part in the rise of ISIS doesn’t really do her any good. When you’re explaining, you’re losing.
In fact, done more adroitly, this might be a pretty diabolical strategy. Unfortunately for Trump, he’s so ham-handed about it that it hurts him more than it does Hillary. So far, anyway. But if he gets better at it, you never know.