Donald Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, defended the Republican nominee but refused to call President Obama the “founder” of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS.)
“The one thing about Donald Trump is he doesn’t go tip-toeing the rules, the semantic rules, of political correctness,” Pence told Denver’s 9News.
“Everybody in this country knows exactly what Donald Trump means, whether it be on that or other issues. He’s a plainspoken man,” Pence continued.
“On this issue, the point is clear: Barack Obama and and Hillary Clinton’s policy in the wider Middle East has been a disaster.”
When asked whether he would call Obama the “founder of ISIS,” Pence said “There is no question that President Barack Obama’s policies in the wider Middle East created a vacuum of leadership in which ISIS was created.”
Trump doubled-down on his claim that President Obama is the “founder of ISIS” when conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt asked Trump to clarify his comment. Hewitt suggested that Trump was saying President Obama’s policies “created a vacuum” in the Middle East that allowed the rise of ISIS.
“No, I meant that he’s the founder of ISIS,” Trump responded. “He was the most valuable player. I gave him the most valuable player award.”
Trump has used similar attacks against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, who was President Obama’s Secretary of State until 2013. In a tweet Clinton responded to Trump’s comments “No, Barack Obama is not the founder of ISIS.”