Donald Trump can’t take it when Trump-style falsehoods are directed at him

Hillary Clinton dropped a bold claim in Saturday night’s debate:

We also need to make sure that the really discriminatory messages that [Donald] Trump is sending around the world don’t fall on receptive ears. He is becoming ISIS’s best recruiter. They are going to people showing videos of Donald Trump insulting Islam and Muslims in order to recruit more radical jihadists. So I want to explain why this is not in America’s interest to react with this kind of fear and respond to this sort of bigotry.

Has the Islamic State used footage of Donald Trump in any recruitment videos? Maybe! But thus far there is no evidence for that specific claim. However, there’s certainly a certain air of truthiness to the gist of what Hillary Clinton was saying: Donald Trump’s explicitly anti-Muslim platform is exactly the kind of thing that the terror organization would use to make their point to potential recruits that the West — and America, in particular, is hostile to Islamic faith and culture. To that point, Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric absolutely does have Islamic terror organizations’ attention, and they are absolutely discussing it on social media. They just haven’t put Trump in a video yet, as far as we know.

Hell, Trump himself said that he “probably radicalized” one of the San Bernardino shooters with his Muslim-focused policy proposals. So even he buys into the general idea that when you call an entire group of people dangerous and bad, people who identify with that group get pissed off.

Nevertheless, Trump is positively furious that someone other than himself pointed that out:

Trump may be right that there “never was a video” of the Islamic State using him as a recruitment tool. Just like there “never was a video” of “thousand of people” in New Jersey cheering on September 11th when the World Trade Center was falling. That’s what makes this particular exchange interesting: Clinton is levying the same kind of off-the-cuff attack against Trump as he’s been throwing around at random throughout his campaign. The charge is impossible to completely disprove, and is backed by little more than its perceived plausibility by supporters of the candidate making the claim.

But now, all of a sudden, Trump is concerned about the complete and absolute truth. How adorable.

In true Trumpian fashion, Hillary Clinton’s campaign isn’t backing down. As her campaign chairman, John Podesta, told Chuck Todd on Meet the Press yesterday:

Donald Trump

Donald Trump, via lev radin /

Well, look, Chuck, your own network ran a piece citing the most important organization that follows ISIS on social media that said that they’re using social media, they’re using Donald Trump as a recruitment tool, so that’s what she was referencing, and that’s the interpretation we made.

I think that if you look at what’s going on in the Middle East, the fact that Mr. Trump is on television all the time, the fact that ISIS is using him as a recruitment tool is a very fair charge.

Notice that Podesta isn’t quite speaking to the veracity of Clinton’s specific claim that an Islamic State propaganda video featuring Donald Trump actually exists. Instead, he’s speaking to the plausibility of such a claim, as well as to the general notion that Trump has, on balance, made similar propaganda more effective. Insofar as Podesta didn’t admit that Clinton was wrong about the existence of a video, while maintaining that her general point was correct, he doubled down on her claim. For months, Trump surrogates have employed this strategy brilliantly.

But now that it’s being directed at him, it seems as though Trump simply can’t handle it.

Politics ain’t beanbag. That Hillary (predictably) got under Trump’s skin with a Trump-style attack should be a signal for his Republican opponents that if you want to take him down, you’re going to have to be better than he is at his own game.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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15 Responses to “Donald Trump can’t take it when Trump-style falsehoods are directed at him”

  1. Unclechuck49 says:

    You really are not smart and the more you write the stupider you seem. Luckily you guys on the right have had to throw so much red meat to your fellow baggers, the rest of the country knows just how crazy and dangerous you are.

  2. RalphMedicus says:

    Prove your stance or shut the fuck up liberal tree hugging asshole. Better yet take your family to the middle East. Find ISIS and start peace talks. Let’s see how long it takes you to star in the next ISIS video.

  3. RalphMedicus says:

    I’ll bet your ancestors believed in appeasing Hitler.

  4. RalphMedicus says:

    Maybe if we just say nice things about ISIS and invite them to dinner then I bet they’ll stop beheading people and burning them alive. They just seem like rationale people who respect people’s differences and just act out because they are misunderstood.

  5. goulo says:

    I have no idea whether Daesh has literally made recruitment videos with Trump yet (it certainly seems like a good idea for them to do so), but certainly the general anti-Islamic paranoia and hatred which people like Trump spout needlessly creates tension and dislike toward the Western governments. And it manifests in news stories like the following:

    in which a British Muslim family, who had visas, was denied boarding to the US and lost over $10000 in unrefunded flight tickets. Two days after the family was stopped from boarding their flight,
    another British traveller, Ajmal Mansoor, an imam and lecturer based in
    Bristol, was turned away from boarding a flight to New York.

    Too many Western politicians (like Trump) and government policies seem doggedly determined to demonstrate that the West does indeed hate Islam and want to treat Muslims as second class citizens at best (or simply more directly, treat them as criminal terrorists).

  6. Alek Kolchak says:

    It was a lie. But do you know who is being used in a recruitment video made my ISIS? Would you believe it’s Billy-goat Clinton, the old witch’s official husband?

    Oh, yeah, Coke-Nose Billy is ISIS’s poster boy for sexual perversion. How’s that for a hoot?

    And The Donald is going to shove it down the old witch’s throat–which is something that Billy-goat never did. He had Monica.

  7. FLL says:

    I agree that Trump is dangerous to the extent that he is letting the neofascist genie out of the bottle. We will have to confront those dark sentiments among our neighbors and coworkers in the coming years. However, I don’t think that Trump will come dangerously close to the Oval Office. I’m more in agreement with the TV comics that I quoted in my response to Nicho below:

    Jeb Bush impersonator: “You’re a jerk. You’re never gonna be president, Donald.”
    Donald Trump impersonator: “Yeah, no kidding. None of us are, genius. And I’ll tell you something else… live from New York, it’s Saturday night.”

  8. FLL says:

    Yeah — so many people rushed to ISIS the minute Trump came on the scene. Pfft.

    I’m not sure of whether there’s a math formula that predicts the amount of ISIS recruitment based on Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric, but his hate speech only gins up the cycle of hate. Becca expressed the feelings of most observers, I think, in her comment above:

    “It’s a Wheel of Violence, and Trump is hooking it up to a nitro-fueled engine of fear and hatred. The man is dangerous…he’s encouraging others to join him on the path to Hell.”

    Duh (rather than pfft). Your second point about the destruction of foreign governments is more on target, but the reason for the rise of ISIS—at least to most observers in the U.S. and abroad—is still the catastrophic destruction of Iraq by George W. Bush. It is true that Senator Clinton voted in favor, but Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld were the architects of the Iraq War, not Hillary. Lastly, the marginalization of Muslim youth in Europe is created and can only be solved by Europeans.

    I sense, in your writing, a general tendency to forgive George W. Bush’s flawed stewardship, a tendency which I don’t think is shared by the majority of voters, who remember it only too well. TV comedy puts it another way:

    Jeb Bush impersonator: “You’re a jerk. You’re never gonna be president, Donald.
    Donald Trump impersonator: “Yeah, no kidding. None of us are, genius. And I’ll tell you something else… live from New York, it’s Saturday night.”

    Don’t get too nostalgic about the “good old days.” You’ll only be disappointed.

  9. BeccaM says:

    Trump is a twofer. He and his rhetoric are responsible for convincing Muslims worldwide that America hates not just the terrorists but all of them. And he is also responsible when American thugs commit anti-Muslim hate crimes.

    The man is dangerous. He not only represents the absolute worst aspects of America, he’s encouraging others to join him on the path to Hell.

  10. 2karmanot says:

    “you are just not smart enough to figure that out.” Mirror

  11. 2karmanot says:

    He’ll need at least three dump trucks for that!

  12. nicho says:

    Yeah — so many people rushed to ISIS the minute Trump came on the scene. Pfft. Any “radicalized” person they talk to mentions the destruction of foreign governments and nations by the US, as well as what they see as a war against Islam — and the fact that Muslim youth in Europe are marginalized and have no future. I’m smart enough to figure that out. But if your view makes you feel cozier, go with that.

  13. Gindy51 says:

    “are going to” is a whole lot different than “did” or “are”. Trump can go pack sand up his ass.

  14. Unclechuck49 says:

    Probably? Prove something or shut the fuck up. Trump has made us less safe. The videos of him being an asshole are everywhere. He is PROUD of it. ISIS is Bush’s fault, you are just not smart enough to figure that out.

  15. nicho says:

    Two main recruiting tools for ISIS are our irresponsible and violent Middle East policies and the “austerity” imposed on European countries by the neoliberals, both of which have Hillary’s fingerprints on them. Hillary has probably recruited more people for ISIS than Donald Trump ever could.

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